Story at a glance

  • Katharine is the name of an Atlantic white shark tagged by OCEARCH with a sizable fan following.
  • The nonprofit responsible for tracking her recently reported that she had resurfaced after more than a year off the grid.
  • While researchers can’t be sure, they think she has given birth since her last appearance.

A self-described "misunderstood but sassy girl just tryin' to get some fish,” Katharine the great white shark has resurfaced after more than a year. What was she doing? Well, just tryin’ to get some fish.

With more than 64,000 followers on Twitter, Katharine qualifies as an A-lister in the white shark community so obviously, she doesn’t run her own social media account. She has people for that. 


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Rob Landers is a journalist and actor who runs the account on behalf of OCEARCH, a nonprofit data collection organization that — among other things — tracks a number of white sharks around the world. White sharks are especially notorious for going radio silent (the radio being a SPOT-tag attached to their dorsal fin), and Katharine was last seen in May 2019. 

According to the OSEARCH online tracking map, the 2,300-pound young adult popped up on their radar on Oct. 30 at 8:27 p.m. in the Atlantic Ocean, east of Virginia, after last being spotted near South Carolina. 


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OCEARCH first tagged Katharine off the coast of Massachusetts in 2013 and has been following her ever since, setting a record for the longevity of her transmitter, Bryan Franks of Jacksonville University said on Facebook. 

 

She was named for Katharine Lee Bates, a Cape Cod native and songwriter who wrote "America the Beautiful,” and fans noted that she resurfaced just in time for the presidential elections, with the tweet "Miss Me?" 

 

It's been a pretty good year for Atlantic white sharks, all things considered, and a record number were recently tagged off the coast of southern California. Still, they are considered a vulnerable species, according to the World Wildlife Fund, thanks to years of human hunting and accidents. The world's largest known predatory fish often concentrate in warm waters near coasts, where there is an abundance of fish and marine mammals for them to prey on, making them susceptible to human interaction.


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Published on Nov 10, 2020