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From giant waves to a great white shark

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

Comments (3)

SCIENTISTS tracking a great white shark which is currently just 800 miles off the Cornish coast say they have no idea where she will go next.

The 2,000lb, 4.4-metre shark, named Lydia, became the first of its species to date recorded crossing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and bookies Ladbrokes say she is 2-1 to visit Cornwall as her first port of call.

She has swum more than 19,000 miles since a tracking device was fitted to her near Florida as part of the Ocearch scientific project.

However, her GPS tag only gives off a signal when she's near the water's surface meaning scientists sometimes have to wait days between new readings.

Dr Gregory Skomal, a senior fisheries biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, said: "I have no idea what to expect from her next.

"I've been working with sharks for a very long time now and I have never seen anything like this.

"She's just short of 800 miles away from your (UK) coast now but in the grand scheme of things that really isn't far for her. It's all very exciting.

"It's hard to say how long it might take her.

"If she decides she wants to get to England she could get there in days."

It is also believed that Lydia may be pregnant and possibly looking to rear her young in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean.

Chris Fischer, expedition leader and founding chairman of the Ocearch shark-tagging project, said: "If I had to guess, I would guess that Lydia is pregnant and that she has been out in the open ocean gestating her babies and that this spring she will lead us to where those baby white sharks are born."

Sharks normally give birth to between 2 and 12 babies at a time after a gestation period of 11 months. Blood samples didn't show Lydia was pregnant when researchers used a 34,000kg hydraulic platform to hoist her from the water to fit the tracking device.

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3 comments

  • TheodoreV  |  March 13 2014, 8:20PM

    Apologies. I must have had sevens on the brain and a senior moment. That should have been more than TWO HUNDRED passengers of course.

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  • Catyfl  |  March 13 2014, 12:41PM

    How exciting if Lydia is rocks up in Cornwall for a quick visit! Then away again to give birth somewhere warm. Hope she DOES call in and we get a chance of a pic or two but guess that's a remote chance! 😇

    |   1
  • TheodoreV  |  March 13 2014, 11:50AM

    One of the ironies of the age: they can plot the position of a wild creature in a vast ocean but haven't a clue where a large man-made object with all the latest technology on board, namely a Boeing 777 with over seven hundred passengers, has disappeared!

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