A great white shark named Luna spotted along US Carolinas coast

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  • Friday, 24 May 2019

Luna, a great white shark, is 4.5m long and weighs 969kg, says OCEARCH. Photo: TNS

Shark trackers say a 4.5m, 969kg great white shark is travelling up the Carolinas coast in the United States, on a path towards the Outer Banks.

That's a fish about the length of a Volkswagen Passat.

Ocearch, a non-profit that tags and tracks sharks, reported in a Facebook post that the shark named Luna showed up on tracking records on May 9 at 11:34am off Charleston, South Carolina.

It was swimming through a deep sea area known as the Charleston Bump, 128km to 160km off the coast. That section of ocean gets its name from a sudden rise above the largely flat coastal floor off Charleston, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Experts say the bump "deflects" the northward flow of the Gulf Stream offshore.

Ocearch has been tracking the 4.5m shark for months. It began its journey travelling south from the Canadian coast in October last year and made it to the southern tip of Florida before doing a U-turn towards the Carolinas, according to Ocearch tracking.

Luna is one of eight great white sharks currently being tracked by Ocearch off North Carolina and South Carolina. Four of them are off the Outer Banks, says Ocearch. The others range in size from 3m to 4.5m, says Ocearch.

Among the eight is a 1,043kg female named Katherine that Ocearch thought it lost track of due to a depleted battery in the tracker.

Katherine was tagged five years ago, says Ocearch, and had gone off the agency's radar six months ago before showing up May 11, not far from Luna's location.

Great white sharks are known to grow to more than 6m long and can weigh 2.2 tonnes or more, according to National Geographic.

Experts believe the great white sharks off the Carolinas are doing what sharks do best: Feasting on fish dragged north by the Gulf Stream, say Ocearch.

"They aren't picky eaters," says SharkInsider.com. "The great white shark diet seems to be as diverse as they come ... . These fish are extremely curious creatures." – Tribune News Service/The Charlotte Observer

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