Great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharia) spend most of their lives in the ocean depths, so we still know relatively little about them. One non-profit organization is out to change that. OCEARCH is a global nonprofit whose mission is to educate the world about great white sharks while preserving and protecting these apex predators and balance-keepers of the world’s oceans. Thanks to OCEARCH’s tagging expeditions, we know some great white sharks were recent visitors off the coast of Daytona Beach, Florida.
Martha is a female great white shark that OCEARCH tagged on August 13, 2020, in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They named her after Martha’s Vineyard on the nearby island.
At her tagging, Martha was a juvenile great white shark, already seven feet long but only weighing 188 pounds. At maturity, Martha could measure 16 feet or longer, and weigh more than 2,400 pounds. Mature female great white sharks are significantly larger than males.
Since Martha was tagged in 2020, she has logged nearly 8,600 miles of travel. Her northernmost ping on record was off the coast of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Her southernmost ping is also the most recent. OCEARCH received a ping from Martha’s tracker on February 6, 2023, off the coast of Daytona Beach.
Shark Capital of the World
While South Africa has the largest documented population of great white sharks, Volusia County, Florida (where Daytona Beach is located) is known as the shark capital of the world because more human/great white shark encounters have been recorded there than anywhere else on the planet. In 2022, there were seven documented shark bites in Volusia County alone. The state of Florida accounted for more than one-quarter of all the world’s shark bites in 2022.
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