Pioneer Study of White Shark Migrations in Western North Atlantic

In a new peer-reviewed paper published in Frontiers in Marine Science, OCEARCH and its collaborative research team, for the first time, provide a comprehensive analysis of the movements and migrations of white sharks in the western North Atlantic, over multiple years and life stages.

Using an unprecedented data set from a combination of animal-tracking technologies, this landmark study analyzed the movement patterns of 48 white sharks tagged at different locations along the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic coasts.

The team’s findings show this population of white sharks makes predictable annual migrations between the northern and southern parts of their range, which stretches from Newfoundland to the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The sharks spend summer and fall primarily in coastal waters off New England and Atlantic Canada, feeding on high-calorie prey such as seals, before heading back south to warmer winter waters off the southeast U.S. from South Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.

The paper reveals that white sharks demonstrate strong site fidelity, with individuals returning to the same location in multiple years, suggesting these animals use complex navigational cues to migrate over thousands of miles every year. This site fidelity focuses on critical habitats for feeding, growing and reproduction within the population’s range, highlighting the importance of protecting those areas where the sharks frequently return.

The paper also serves as a model to decipher the migratory patterns of white sharks in other regions.

See the paper via this link.

See the OCEARCH Shark Tracker here.

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