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Updated: Mon, 28 Oct 2013 18:02:48 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Great white shark tracked to waters off Newfoundland



The travelling path of Lydia, the great white shark, places her in Placentia Bay. Ocearch website

The travelling path of Lydia, the great white shark, places her in Placentia Bay. Ocearch website

Researchers are tracking the movements of a great white shark that has made its way to Placentia Bay, in southern Newfoundland.

A group called Ocearch first caught and tagged the shark off the coast of Florida, naming it Lydia.

Chris Fischer, the founding chairman of Ocearch, said he was surprised to track the one tonne, 4.3-metre-long great white up to Newfoundland waters.

"We thought the sharks might take us north, and this is actually the first one to do that, so for me I was thrilled," Fischer said.

"I don't know if she's going to go from Newfoundland over to Sable Island, is she going to go to Halifax? Is there a key part of the breeding cycle in Canada for great white sharks? I don't know. It just makes me feel like we're on the cusp of learning some new things and new areas that we have to investigate."

Fischer hopes tracking the travel patterns of the sharks will help researchers learn more about them.

"One of our big problems is we have a lack of data. We don't know where the breeding sites are, we don't know where the nurseries are, we don't understand their entire migratory path," he said.

"We're trying to collect that data so we can put a comprehensive management plan in place for them."

Shark researcher Ian Hamilton, who works at Memorial University in St John's, said the presence of a great white off the island's coast isn't a surprise.

"People have probably been swimming and boating in Newfoundland for hundreds of years with these animals in the water around without knowing it," he said.

"So it may bring a little bit of, you know, that Jaws fear back. But that's some of the myth we're trying to dispel."

Researchers believe the large seal population may be what attracts the sharks to the area, but they say there's still too much unknown about them to know for sure.

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