Great white shark 'Mary Lee' near Long Island - New York News

Great white shark 'Mary Lee' near Long Island

Posted: Updated:
Scientists with OCEARCH tag a great white shark named Mary Lee off Cape Cod, Mass., September 18, 2012. (Photo by OCEARCH, Mike Estabrook) Scientists with OCEARCH tag a great white shark named Mary Lee off Cape Cod, Mass., September 18, 2012. (Photo by OCEARCH, Mike Estabrook)

By BRUCE SMITH | AP

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — It seems Mary Lee's winter vacation in the sunny South is over.

The 3,500-pound great white shark headed north after spending weeks off the Southeast coast. Mary Lee, one of only two great whites ever tagged in the North Atlantic, got as far south as Jacksonville Beach, Fla., several weeks ago. But in recent days, she's made a bee line north.

CLICK TO TRACK MARY LEE

On Thursday, she was off Long Island, N.Y. Researchers can't really say they are surprised because the habits of the great white are such a mystery.

"Lo and behold, Mary Lee goes down there for a little while and then bugs out and now she's off Long Island and we realize we don't know anything," said Chris Fischer, the founder of OCEARCH, a nonprofit dedicated to studying great whites and other large marine species.

Fischer's group has tagged dozens of great whites off South Africa and in the Pacific. He led the September expedition to tag Mary Lee off Cape Cod, and named the shark after his mother. The group also tagged a second great white, Genie.

"I felt like at the moment, Mary Lee was the most legendary fish caught in history," he said. "We were at the home of 'Jaws,' we were capturing a great white to save it and solve the puzzle of the great white."

"Jaws," the 1975 blockbuster movie directed by Steven Spielberg, was a fictitious tale of a great white causing havoc at a small New England island community.

Capturing a great white weighing upward of 2 tons is no easy feat. The expedition used its 126-foot research vessel, designed with a special lift that can bring up 55,000 pounds.

"We bait the shark and once we are pulling on the shark we walk it back to the ship and over the lift. The lift then pulls it out of the water," Fischer said. While on the boat, a device that relays the shark's position to a satellite is attached to its dorsal fin.

As many as 100,000 people a day are monitoring the position on OCEARCH's website. Traffic got so heavy this winter the organization had to upgrade its servers, Fischer said.

"This is modern day exploration. I wanted the public to be able to see a part of that," he said.

The other great white, Genie, also headed south for the winter. But because she doesn't surface as much, her travels have been harder to track. Genie's last position was recorded Jan. 19 off the South Carolina-Georgia border.

Fischer said it's important to learn more about sharks, which are at the top of the food chain in the ocean but threatened by man. He said 73 million sharks a year are killed just for their fins to make shark fin soup.

In recent years, he added, people have become fascinated by sharks, which will help efforts to understand and protect them.

"It used to be when people were talking about great white sharks you could hear in the background the theme music to 'Jaws' and fear," he said. "Now the conversation is of curiosity. What is Mary Lee doing today? Everyone is involved and the tone of the conversation has changed, which I think is important for the future of sharks."

Online: http://sharks-ocearch.verite.com/

  • Long Island NewsLong Island NewsMore>>

  • Cops swarm home after disgruntled Call of Duty gamer calls in swatting hoax

    Cops swarm home after disgruntled Call of Duty gamer calls in swatting hoax

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:05:27 GMT
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games.
  • Long Island teacher arrested for hit-and-run crash

    Long Island teacher arrested for hit-and-run crash

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 5:57 AM EDT2014-04-22 09:57:01 GMT
    SCPD photoSCPD photo
    A Long Island schoolteacher is accused of slamming her car into a parked minivan and then driving away while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to Suffolk County Police. With a description of the car that drove away, police drove around the area of the collision and found it in the parking lot of Center Moriches High School, police said.
    A Long Island schoolteacher is accused of slamming her car into a parked minivan and then driving away while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, according to Suffolk County Police. With a description of the car that drove away, police drove around the area of the collision and found it in the parking lot of Center Moriches High School, police said.
  • Special Olympics: Athlete Jessica Spitz

    Special Olympics: Athlete Jessica Spitz

    Friday, April 18 2014 6:35 PM EDT2014-04-18 22:35:09 GMT
    Jessica Spitz, 18, is training for one of the biggest days of her life. The Commack, Long Island, High School senior will be competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in the 100-yard dash and the shot put. From the moment Jessica joined Special Olympics last year, she was hooked.
    Jessica Spitz, 18, is training for one of the biggest days of her life. The Commack, Long Island, High School senior will be competing in the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in the 100-yard dash and the shot put. From the moment Jessica joined Special Olympics last year, she was hooked.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Superstorm Sandy

    NYU Langone unveils rebuilt emergency room

    NYU Langone unveils rebuilt emergency room

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:54:40 GMT
    A year and a half after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, a major city emergency facility that was destroyed finally fully reopened Thursday — with waterproof walls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and other dignitaries to celebrate the emergency complex at the NYU Langone Medical Center, which is now triple the size of the old one and equipped with the latest technology.
    A year and a half after Superstorm Sandy hit New York, a major city emergency facility that was destroyed finally fully reopened Thursday — with waterproof walls. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and other dignitaries to celebrate the emergency complex at the NYU Langone Medical Center, which is now triple the size of the old one and equipped with the latest technology.
  • Princeton University giving town $24M

    Princeton University giving town $24M

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:33:55 GMT
    Princeton University has agreed to contribute more than $24 million over the next seven years to the town of Princeton. The deal was announced Thursday and is set for consideration by the town government's approval on Monday. The university and town officials frame it was as a way to resolve an age-old issue in college towns where much of the land is university-owned and thus tax-exempt.
    Princeton University has agreed to contribute more than $24 million over the next seven years to the town of Princeton. The deal was announced Thursday and is set for consideration by the town government's approval on Monday. The university and town officials frame it was as a way to resolve an age-old issue in college towns where much of the land is university-owned and thus tax-exempt.
  • Connecticut: DNA shows wolf-dog reports false

    Connecticut: DNA shows wolf-dog reports false

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:59 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:59:07 GMT
    Connecticut environmental officials say DNA tests on samples from seven animals in North Stonington show they are domestic dogs with no recent wolf ancestors.
    Connecticut environmental officials say DNA tests on samples from seven animals in North Stonington show they are domestic dogs with no recent wolf ancestors.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices