Katherine, a great white shark that was tagged off the coast in Massachusetts last August, is headed to Texas according to the pings that she has transmitted. According to Mail Online, Katherine is a 14-foot shark that weighs 2,300 pounds. Since being tagged, she has surfaced several times in the Gulf of Mexico. The tag, likely located on the shark's dorsal fin, sends a signal when it comes to the surface. On Sunday, the shark was located 140 miles west of Sarasota, Florida.
Researchers have tagged great whites in order to monitor their migration patterns. Robert Hueter of the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota said that it was surprising to see the great white heading for Texas because sharks were known to swim in the Gulf of Mexico during the winter months only. So what does this mean?
Is Katherine the great white looking to mate? Or is she staying close to the shore to find her next meal? These questions haven't been answered yet, but researchers hope that staying on top of these pings will provide some concrete clues about where these sharks go, when, and why.
According to USA Today, another great white shark named Betsy (who weighs in at 1,400 pounds), was also tagged. Her last known whereabouts came via ping earlier this month. According to the documented information, Betsy is 120 miles west of Sanibel Island, Fla. -- she too could be swimming in the Gulf of Mexico right now.
Katherine the great white and other sharks like her are often hunted for their fins and teeth -- not to mention how "cool" some think it would be to reel one of these predatory fish in. This is the main reason that research is being done: To protect the species.
"In order to protect them, researchers need a better understanding of where they travel to, mate and give birth -- all things not yet known about the great whites in the Atlantic."