Four large adult male great whites seem to have surrounded the Canadian island of Cap-aux-Meules, which shark researchers have described as a “very interesting” sight.
OCEARCH, which tracks marine life using tagging and satellite technology, said the four adult males “have recently surfaced in the same area.
“Very interesting to see this on the OCEARCH Global SharkTracker this morning,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post. “What do you think is going on here? Could there be biomass in the region that the [Great White Sharks] can feed on?
OCEARCH tracking works with devices attached to the sharks. When an animal comes to the surface, it sends a “ping” to a satellite, which allows researchers to determine its location and see where it has travelled from.
Understanding the movements of the great white sharks will enable researchers to better support conservation efforts. The great white sharks are hardly known and are considered to be endangered. They are a long-lived species that produce few offspring, and many populations are affected by climate change and unsustainable fishing practices.
4 large adult male #white sharks appeared in the same area around Cape-aux-Meules. It is very interesting to see this on the #OCEARCH Global #SharkTracker this morning. What do you think is going on here? Could there be biomass in the region that the #Great White Sharks can feed on? #FactsOverFear pic.twitter.com/6YT88RMkKF
– OCEARCH (@OCEARCH) October 26, 2020
The four sharks that have appeared off the coast of Cap-aux-Meules are known as Breton Sharks, Mahone, Vimy and Jefferson. Mahone is the largest at 13 ft 7 in, while Jefferson is the smallest at 12 ft 7 in. Male primates, which are generally smaller than females, have an average length between 11 and 13 feet.
The first to arrive on the island was the Breton, who first got stuck in the region on September 23. Mahone and Vimy were first registered in the region on October 26. The latter was captured by OCEARCH on October 1 as part of an expedition to Nova Scotia to mark more great whites.
Another male great white shark also staked out the coast of Prince Edward Island, about 80 miles from Cap-aux-Meules. This 11 ft 7 ft shark, known as Blue Nose, was first recorded in this area on October 9.
What attracts the male sharks to the area is unclear, although it may be related to an increase in seal numbers in this part of the ocean. A Facebook user living in Cap-aux-Meules responded to OCEARCH’s Facebook post with a picture of a dead seal missing a piece of meat on its side. The user, Jean-Simon Richard, who is a veterinarian, said that the sharks there would “taste our population of grey seals”.
He said the bite seemed to come from a great white shark. “Maybe this particular seal managed to swim away from the shark,” he wrote, “sharks often bite their prey and then wait for them to die, maybe that’s what happened here”.