There’s a 1-ton great white shark headed for Texas

Ocearch.org has interactive tracking maps of each shark showing its pings. This map tracks a young white shark named Katharine. from her tag location at Cape Cod.
Ocearch.org has interactive tracking maps of each shark showing its pings. This map tracks a young white shark named Katharine. from her tag location at Cape Cod.

A one-ton great white shark is cutting through the Gulf of Mexico toward Texas, pinging radars along the way and allowing scientists to track her progress.

The 14-foot-long, 2,300-pound fish, called Katharine, was first tagged by scientists last year off of Cape Cod, the Houston Chronicle reported. Researchers told the newspaper that a satellite on Sunday placed her about 140 miles west of Sarasota, Fla. If she keeps to her current course, it’s estimated she will reach the mouth of the Mississippi River within a week and then enter the waters of the Lone Star State.

Katharine’s tag sends a signal to the group Ocearch when she comes to the surface. So far, the group has tracked her a total of 4,800 miles.

Chris Fischer, founder of the group, told ABC News that if she doesn’t return to Cape Cod this summer, that could mean she’s pregnant and will have a “pup” in about a year.

“We’re thrilled with Katharine. The project has been open source so the public can track it in real time, and we’ve gotten a massive tidal wave of enthusiasm for it,” he said.

Katharine was named in honor of Katharine Lee Bates, a Cape Cod native and songwriter — perhaps best known for her poem and song “America the Beautiful,” according to Ocearch’s Web site.

Ocearch is also tracking another great white named Betsy, among others. As of June 5, she was about 120 miles west of Sanibel Island, Fla., according to news reports.

“Every track is giving us new information and going contrary to all the assumptions that we were going on,” Robert Hueter, director of the center for shark research at Mote Marine Laboratory, told the Chronicle. “Having them in the Gulf is something we thought happened in the winter time.”

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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