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Surprising Data Collected From Sharks Tagged Off Cape Cod

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Christina Hager Christina Hager
Award-winning reporter Christina Hager works as a general assignmen...
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NEW BEDFORD (CBS) – The state’s leading shark expert says he’s getting some surprising news from sharks he tagged off the coast of Cape Cod. Exactly two months after Dr. Greg Skomal took his first ever blood sample from a living great white shark, he says one of the sharks is prowling the coast of Florida, faster than he expected.

“This is a very simple migration, and I didn’t anticipate that,” says Skomal. He says he expected the shark to side-track more into the open ocean. Instead, the satellite tag on the shark named Mary Lee shows she’s been swimming back and forth from Jacksonville to southern Georgia. It’s roughly the length of Cape Cod, in just one day.

What does that mean for us when we hit the beach again next summer? If a shark is spotted near one beach, it may be pointless for local officials to close it, since this research now shows the shark could likely be several towns away in a matter of hours.

Skomal will spend the winter writing a paper following the tags and processing blood work. So far, he says blood pH and carbon dioxide tests show the shark named Genie Clark was stressed when she surfaced, but not to a life threatening degree.

“A couple more years of intensive tagging, and the picture of the white shark and how it lives in the Atlantic is going to very clearly emerge,” he says.

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