Researchers continue to keep tabs on Ironbound, a 12-foot great white shark weighing 1,000 pounds that has been cruising up and down the East Coast looking for seals.
A tracked on Ironbound dinged in April off the Jersey Shore, a few months ahead of schedule to be that far north.
“Sometimes, they take a shot at it because maybe once out of every 10 years it’s warm enough up there where they can move in and eat seal starting a month early,” Chris Fischer, founder of the nonprofit research group Ocearch, told TODAY.
Upon reaching the cold water, Ironbound, named in honor of the island in Nova Scotia where Ocearch first tagged him, retreated back to North Carolina.
Fischer says Ironbound is a special type of shark.
“He is a determined, young, mature male trying to make his way in the white shark world, and he has the attitude to do so,” he said.
Since 2019, Ironbound has traveled 13,000 miles from Canada to the Florida Keys, where sharks like to go to spend time in warm water in the colder months.
Ironbound is a giant shark, but he’s not the biggest one out there. A 20-foot long shark weighing more than two tons named Deep Blue has been captured caught on camera in Hawaii. It’s all part of a resurgence of great whites over the last 20 years.
At least 47 people were attacked by sharks in the United States last year, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File. Oceanographers, though, say such incidents do not happen often and that sharks are necessary.
“Well, they manage the ocean system and if the ocean system’s not working, we die. And these guys are the system managers. So if they thrive, we thrive,” Fischer said.