First White Shark to Cross Atlantic

Sharks are lifted from the ocean on this custom-built 34,000kg (75,000lb) capacity hydraulic platform. It is the compression of the organs at this point which has caused concern.

Sharks are lifted from the ocean on this custom-built 34,000kg (75,000lb) capacity hydraulic platform. It is the compression of the organs at this point which has caused concern.

© 2014 - Ocearch

Meet Lydia, 14 ft 6 inches (4.4 metres) of great white shark weighing approximately 2000 lbs and the first white shark to be documented at the Mid Atlantic Ridge. But you bet she's not the first, huge great whites have been heading to Europe (the Med) for millions of years, so surfers can relax. Unless you are surfing the Atlantic Ridge with a hunk of raw tuna down your boardies.

"No white sharks have crossed from west to east or east to west... We have no idea how far she will go, but Europe, the Med, and the coast of Africa are all feasible."Dr Gregory Skomal

Lydia is approximately 1,600km (1,000 miles) from the coasts of SW Ireland and Cornwall heading in generally north easterly direction. Originally tagged by the Ocearch crew off Florida the shark has travelled more than 30,500km (19,000 miles) proving that a white shark's territory is possibly only bounded by the ocean itself. In contrast to the hype and fear around these creatures very little is known about their long term movement or reproduction. This somewhat controversial tagging programme which started in South Africa, before moving in the Atlantic and Pacific, has added significantly to the movement body of knowledge despite their methods.

Dr Gregory Skomal, senior fisheries biologist with Massachusetts Marine Fisheries, told BBC News: "No white sharks have crossed from west to east or east to west... We have no idea how far she will go, but Europe, the Med, and the coast of Africa are all feasible." This rare animal has been previously spotted in the Mediterranean with some experts believing it to be a nursery.

"We of course have watched Lydia closely and simply amazed at the distance that she has traveled, moving halfway across the north Atlantic. Lydia is an excellent example of how this work can expand on our knowledge about the white shark because her movements illustrate how our initial view of the movement patterns of "Atlantic White Sharks" - on the Cape in the summer and Florida Snowbirds in the winter - was far too simplistic and downright wrong." Said Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, University of North Florida Shark Program director


Ed Temperley

Founding editor at magicseaweed