UPDATED: Thanks to reader Kevin Polk for the link in the comment section to a CapeLinks Blog article that sheds a lot more light on this story. Most notably that the shark was dead when it was found entangled in the fishing gear, and that the story was kept quiet due to legal concerns due to white sharks being legally protected species.
According to a Cape Cod Times article, a fishing vessel reportedly caught a 20′ (6m) great white shark a few miles off of Chatham, Massachusetts, last month. The capture was reported to Division of Marine Fisheries senior biologist Greg Skomal, who was caught “off-guard” by the news.
Data collected from tagging efforts by Skomal have shown that the tagged great white sharks tended to leave the Chatham area around October or November and spent winter months in the waters off of Florida. Skomal theorized that the bulk of a white shark that large would probably have provided insulation to allow the shark to tolerate the lower water temperatures in the area, which were reported to be in the lower 40s (° F).
The Cape Code Times article does not go into much detail about the capture of the great white shark. There is no mention, in the report, of whether the white shark (a protected species) was released after being caught. There is also no mention of any photographic documentation of the white shark. A 20′ (6m) specimen would be considered very large for the species.
Cape Cod Times is reporting that Dr. Greg Skomal tagged the eighth great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) of the summer, in the Cape Cod area, earlier this month. This season, five white sharks have been tagged with satellite tags and three shark have been tagged with acoustic tags. The tags are expected to provide information about where the white sharks travel, how long they stay in a particular area, and their movement patterns based on seasons and tides.
According to New England Cable News (NECN), a 7′ great white shark was caught, tagged and released in Stellwagen Bank. The shark was caught and released by the crew of a Gloucester, Massachusetts sportfishing charter boat. Dr. Gregory Skomal, of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, identified the shark as a great white. The article from NECN does not elaborate on what type of tag was used on the white shark.
Note: The video above is loops through an 8-second clip of the white shark after it was hooked. After you’ve seen the first 8 seconds, you’ve seen all there is to it.
According to The Boston Globe, data from a third great white shark tagged last September in Massachusetts waters is now being transmitted. Data from two other great white sharks tagged in the same area revealed that the sharks traveled 1,000 miles south over a two-month span and are currently in Florida waters.
Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts’ Division of Marine Wildlife said the sharks “hugged the coast” during their travels, unlike similarly tracked great white sharks in the Pacific, who often journey far offshore. Skomal also noted that the sharks reached depths of 1,500′ during the migration.