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Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
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Great white shark tagged off Massachusetts, swims into Gulf

A great white shark nicknamed “Betsy,” which was tagged for research off Cape Cod two years ago, was found swimming about 63 miles off Boca Grande on Friday, according to scientists.

The female 12-foot, 1,400-pound shark was tagged by a team led by Ocearch and included scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries during their Expedition Cape Cod in August 2013, Ocearch said in a release.

After she was tagged, Betsy dropped off the radar, staying underwater where her satellite tag would not trigger a location signal to scientists, the release said.

When she pinged on Friday, Betsy became the first white shark from the one of the expeditions in the Atlantic Ocean to be tracked into the Gulf of Mexico, Ocearch said.

“She had been really quiet — so it’s pretty exciting that we’re hearing from her satellite tag at all, let alone right around here,” said Dr. Nick Whitney from Mote.

The separate motion-sensing tag — called an accelerometer — that Whitney put on Betsy’s dorsal fin remains at sea, the organization said. The device was programmed to track the shark’s fine-scale movements for two weeks and then pop off so scientists could recover it, but the tag stayed on for two months before floating to the surface in the northern Atlantic.

Anyone can track the tagged sharks, including Betsy, at the Ocearch website.

Ocearch is a nonprofit that researches great white sharks and other large apex predators.

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