Mysterious gathering of Great White sharks on East Coast raises alarm amongst scientists
A recent tweet about the sudden increase in the number of Great White Sharks on the US East Coast sent social media users into panic mode last week. On Wednesday, December 2, a Twitter user with the handle @punished_stu tweeted the screenshot of a map, which showed over a hundred White Sharks tagged along the Atlantic Coast Line. "Sharks are amassing on the east coast," he wrote in the caption. The tweet went viral in no time, garnering over 6000 retweets and 53,000 likes.
The user, whose name is believed to be Stuart, continued in the same thread, "I occasionally log in to check that the nearest Great White is at least 2000 miles away," adding, "get @OCEARCH's shark tracker app to stay on top of your local shark activity." Other users tried instigating further panic in Stuart, as one corrected, "The nearest *tagged* Great White... I feel that's an important distinction, although it may not help your anxiety about the subject. :-)". Meanwhile, editor Ben McAleer tweeted, "Getting ready to launch their land attack."
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sharks are amassing on the east coast pic.twitter.com/GDI250biUE— stuart (@punished_stu) December 1, 2021
There had been increased shark sightings in Florida this summer as people started flocking the beaches once again after the pandemic. Meanwhile, panicking internet users did not delay in heading to the shark tracking website Ocearch, which later clarified that there is no impending risk to the residents of the East Coast. "We are currently studying the Northwest Atlantic White Shark, the white sharks that live off the Eastern United States and Canada," a representative for the website told The Sun, adding, "This is why we have so many recently tagged sharks in this area. We have tagged 83 white sharks in the NW Atlantic.”
Another shark expert cited climate change as the cause behind the increase in predatory fish detections in recent times. Dr. Christopher Lowe, Director of the Shark Lab at California State University, said such detections are "not terribly uncommon" and climate change might have spurred a migration of Great Whites along the Eastern Coast of the North American mainland.
"This isn’t terribly uncommon since most of these sharks were likely tagged at nearshore locations. Although, this is typically the season when smaller sharks are migrating to warmer southern waters," he explained, adding, "Much of this pattern is likely attributed to changing oceanographic conditions caused by climate change."