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Massive great white shark heading for UK in incredible Atlantic ocean journey
April 23, 2021
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A giant 17ft great white shark could be heading for the UK, possibly becoming the second in history to cross the Atlantic.
The 253 stone female shark Nukumi usually swims up and down the west coast of America and Canada.
But in what has been called a highly unusual move, the 50-year-old matriarch – the largest ever tagged in the region by scientists who are monitoring her – took a swerve east, across the Atlantic.
Migratory species like great white sharks rarely cross the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a barrier in the middle of the ocean, but Nukumi took the turn earlier this month.
And she has kept going, surfacing long enough for the tag in her dorsal fin to "ping" a GPS location back to gripped shark trackers at science organisation OCEARCH.
Its chief scientist Dr Bob Hueter said: "At this point in her track, Nukumi has crossed from the western Atlantic to the eastern Atlantic over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the dividing feature between west and east.
"She has been swimming eastward for about two months since she left the US coast off the state of North Carolina.
“As of her last known location, Nukumi was still about 1,700 nautical miles from the UK. Now, that is less than her distance from the US coast, so she is capable of reaching the UK coast."
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But he added: “We would not predict that she will do that, as white sharks are rare off the UK.”
The only other great white shark tracked making the crossing was Lydia, in April 2014, which stunned scientists with an epic journey to the coast of Portugal.
Nukumi's two-month voyage has so far taken her to 1,700 nautical miles off British shores.
The Mirror has revealed fisherman's claims in the past that Great White's have stalked the British coast but it has never been proven.
There is a documented population of Great Whites in the Mediterranean and they have been blamed for attacks on Italy.
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In 1989, diver Luciano Costanzo, 47, was reportedly eaten alive by one near Tuscany. His body was never found.
Experts also agree the conditions off our coasts are good for the giant fish and that with increasing sea temperatures over the years there is no reason why a species like the Great White could not set up shop off the coast of the UK.
Boffins believe Nukumi is on the move because she could be pregnant, and is looking for a place to give birth away from her aggressive male counterparts.
Nukumi is the largest white shark tagged in the Northwest Atlantic by OCEARCH to date, and researchers believe she is over 50 years old judging by her large scars.
Tracking from non-profit OCEARCH, who attached a tag to her dorsal fin in Nova Scotia in October 2020, shows she travels on average 44 miles each day.
She left the North Carolina coast on February 22 and since being tagged has travelled around 5,570 miles. She crossed the ridge around April 5.