Why great white sharks love North Carolina waters in the winter


While great whites are likely the most talked-about species of shark, there is still a lot that researchers do not know about the large fish.

“For animals that migrate large distances through different judiciary boundaries,” says Ara McClanahan, an aquarist with the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. “It can be hard to appropriately protect such an important long lived and slow reproducing species.”

McClanahan says great whites are a migratory species that spend different parts of the year in different places. Wintertime happens to be when they travel to the North Carolina coast.

“You have a distinct population of sharks that occur in the northwest Atlantic,” says McClanahan. “Typically speaking, they prefer these cooler waters so that’s why they start to move down south into their overwintering habitat which is what we call it. Anywhere from Cape Hatteras down south to the Gulf, places like that.”

Since they move so much, she says tracking technology has become an important research tool.

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