As part of an expedition to track shark movements in Maritime waters, researchers discovered Nukumi, believed to weigh 1.606 kg and be over 50-years-old

OCEARCH has tagged their largest-ever great white shark off the Maritime coast and named her after a legendary Mi’kmaw grandmother figure.

As part of an expedition down the Northwest Atlantic coast to track the shark population, the U.S. based shark research non-profit, say they tagged Nukumi (pronounced noo-goo-mee) on Friday morning near West Ironbound Island in Nova Scotia.

Chris Fischer, founding chairman and expedition leader of OCEARCH, said finding a shark of Nukumi’s size is “interesting.” The shark measured at over five metres long, weighed 1,606 kg and is assumed to be over 50 years old.

Several Canadians boating in the Maritime waters or relaxing by the beach have reported an increase in sightings of great white sharks along the coast, with videos of the apex predators popping up along the Nova Scotian coast during the summer. In August, authorities temporarily closed down Queensland beach for a couple of days after several beachgoers spotted the trademark shark fin perilously close to the shore.

However, Fischer says its not as uncommon as one may think to spot more sharks off the Nova Scotia coast. “The reality is that we suspect they’ve been here for quite some time, we just know about them now,” he said, as quoted in a recent organization press release.

Another look at #whiteshark ‘Nukumi’. She’s a mature female #greatwhiteshark, and the 6th the team has been able to sample during #ExpeditionNovaScotia #FactsOverFear

In 2018 and 2019, Fischer led two expeditions off the Nova Scotia coast to tag and sample sharks, so as to track their movements. The team was able to tag 17 sharks and shared their tracking data on their website and social media, increasing public awareness about the creatures and their prevalence in the Maritimes. Several of the tagged sharks have returned to the Nova Scotia coast this year, according to the press release, stemming researcher’s curiosity as to what attracts the fish back and why.

“Now that we know they are here in big numbers, it’s time to drill down and understand exactly how these animals are utilizing the area and how healthy the population is,” Fischer added. According to the press release, the presence of so many predators off Canada is a sign of a “healthy ocean” as the sharks act as balance-keepers within the waters.

Beautiful #GreatWhiteShark “Rose” was named after Rose Bay, #NovaScotia She’s a 10’ 5” 600lbs juvenile female #whiteshark studied during #OCEARCH #ExpeditionNovaScotia #FactsOverFear

The organization’s third expedition, began earlier this month at Main-a-dieu and travelled to shark friendly locations such as Scaterie Island and West IronBound Island before ending near Lunenburg on Oct. 6. During the trip, researchers will extract bacteria samples from the shark’s mouths as well and blood and fluid samples to study the health and behaviour of the white shark population, as well tag more sharks to track their movements. The data will be used to support 21 other ongoing research projects to study the reclusive predators.

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