Posted on 11/24/2019

Great White Sharks Migrate Past the Outer Banks

Section of an OCEARCH map showing some of the sharks that have pinged off the Outer Banks.
Section of an OCEARCH map showing some of the sharks that have pinged off the Outer Banks.

We've seen a couple of headline in the past two weeks about how Great White Sharks are swarming to the waters off the Outer Banks. It's based on the tagged sharks that OCEARCH has been tracking.

OCEARCH is an oceanographic research organization that tags a number of species, including whales and tiger sharks, but the great white sharks are the attention getters.

What's happening off the Outer Banks coast—and yes there are great white sharks there—are two factors coming together.

First of all, great white sharks have always been off the coast of North Carolina and at this time of the year they are more numerous. The reason is simple. They're migrating, swimming from the cold waters off Canada to the warmer waters of Florida and even into the Caribbean.

The reason they seem so suddenly numerous is that OCEARCH has been continually tagging great white sharks off Nova Scotia for the past few years, there are more than every tagged, so more than every ping when they come to the surface.

What is happening is a very natural part of the Atlantic Ocean ecosystem.

For the most part, great whites stay at least a few miles off shore. Not always. There have been a few instances where a shark will send a signal from one of the Outer Banks sounds—usually Pamlico.

There was recently a false ping—not sure how that happened—placing Cabot, a 533 pound great white almost in the Pamlico River.

That would have been remarkable. Great white sharks cannot survive in fresh water and that far from Oregon Inlet, or any inlet, the water is considered fresh. But as it turns out, it was a false reading. 

Cabot sent a good strong signal from just south of Oregon Inlet, in the ocean, to set things straight.

The Outer Banks environment is fascinating. Plan your stay with Joe Lamb, Jr. & Associates to learn about the beauty of the Outer Banks.

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