Great White Shark Tracked Off Jersey Shore

Researchers tagged "Mary Lee" several years ago.

New Jersey, meet Mary Lee. She’s big and toothy…

Source: @MaryLeeShark on Twitter

Source: @MaryLeeShark on Twitter

…and she’s hanging out off the Wildwood coast.

NBC 10 reports:

Researchers spotted the famous great white shark Mary Lee as she made her way to the Jersey Shore, just ten miles off the Wildwood coast and Cape May Thursday morning.

Nonprofit group OCEARCH spotted the 3,456-pound and 16-foot-long shark around 6:12 a.m., using a tracking device they attached to Mary Lee, alerting researchers every time her fin surfaces above the water.

While experts don’t know the exact cause of what’s keeping Mary Lee in the area, they believe it may be related to food.

National Geographic talks to George Burgess, who does shark research for the Florida Museum of Natural History:

The shark biologist can’t say for sure what Mary Lee was doing when she was nosing around Maryland and Virginia. But Burgess added that great whites on the U.S. East Coast do show some seasonality to their movements.

“The sharks are snowbirds, and they come down to northeast Florida in the wintertime,” he said. “We think the timing is probably tied to the arrival of right whales off of Florida,” as the whales gather in this area to give birth.

“No doubt the white [sharks] are following those groups looking for the old and the young and the stragglers, and will take advantage of any that don’t make it,” Burgess said.

Whatever you do, New Jersey beachgoers, try not to look too appetizing.