A massive 15ft great white shark has been spotted swimming off the US coast.
The female is one of the largest great white sharks ever tagged and was seen in the water south of Miami, Florida.
Measuring 15ft 5ins, and weighing 2,076 pounds (148 stone), the shark called Unama’ki “pinged” off of Key Largo at 5.46am on Thursday, November 5.
It “pinged” after its dorsal fin broke the surface of the water, sending a signal to a satellite, alerting researchers, reports NBC Miami.
Unama’ki was tagged with an electronic tracking device in September 2019, off Nova Scotia, Canada, by Ocearch – a non-profit shark research group that tags and tracks large marine animals.
Her name Unama’ki means “land of the fog” in the indigenous language of the Mi’kmaq people.
Ocearch’s tracker shows that she last “pinged” at 12.15pm on November 6.
The tracker site states: “As a big mature female, Unama’ki has the potential to lead us to the site where she gives birth and exposes a new white shark nursery.”
She is the second-largest white shark to be tagged by the group.
Last year, Unama’ki moved past Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico – and scientists will track her to see if she follows the same path in 2020.
However, she can only be tracked once she breaks the surface.
According to Ocearch each shark tends to spend different amounts of time at the surface.
Found in cool, coastal waters around the world, great white sharks are the largest predatory fish on the planet. They grow to an average of 15ft in length, although there are records of some exceeding 20ft and weighing up to 5,000 pounds, according to National Geographic.
Researchers with Ocearch also discovered and tagged a 17ft long female great white shark just over a month ago.
She weighed 3,541 pounds and was officially named Nukumi, after a legendary wise grandmother figure from the indigenous Mi’kmaq people.
Scientists say that the numbers of great whites are decreasing, with the two biggest threats to them being overfishing and getting caught in fishing nets.
The species is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature – one step away from endangered.
Great white sharks have a reputation for being fearsome killers, partly thanks to the film Jaws.
However, National Geographic says that of the 100 or so annual shark attacks worldwide, only a third to half are attributed to great whites. But most don’t turn out to be fatal.
Its website states: “Research finds that great whites, which are naturally curious, often ‘sample bite’ then release their human target.
“It’s not a terribly comforting distinction, but it does indicate that humans are not actually on the great white’s menu. Fatal attacks, experts say, are typically cases of mistaken identity: Swimmers and surfers can look a lot like their favourite prey—seals—when seen from below.”
You can track Unama’ki using Ocearch’s tracker, here.