A large white shark may arrive in Europe as early as this summer, scientists point out. This may seem like a distant hypothesis, but it is not unprecedented.
Just swim the wrong way ”, says Bob Hueter, chief scientist at OCEARCH.
Nukumi, a female weighing more than 1,600 kilograms and over 5.2 meters in length, became the second great white shark to be able to cross the entire Atlantic Ocean.
It is currently very close to the United Kingdom and, if it does not turn back, it may head for the Azores or towards the Mediterranean.
The habitat of this shark is usually the west coast of the United States and Canada, but unusual behavior led Nukumi, the 50-year-old matriarch, to swim east, eventually crossing the Atlantic.
She has been swimming to the east for about two months, since she left the US coast in the state of North Carolina. ”, clarifies the chief scientist.
This marine migratory species rarely crosses the Mesoatlantic Dorsal Chain, an underwater mountain range, but Nukumi did so and continued to swim towards Europe.
At this point in his trajectory, Nukumi has already crossed from the western Atlantic to the eastern Atlantic over the Mesoatlantic Dorsal Chain, the division between west and east ”, explains Bob Hueter of OCEARCH.
The only time that a great white shark had appeared on the old continent happened, in 2014, when Lydia, a 4.4 meter female, surprised scientists by appearing on the coast of Portugal.
Nukumi’s trip has been going on for more than two months. It was found less than 3,200 kilometers off the British coast and scientists guarantee that “Could have arrived in the UK”.
She is able to reach the coast of the United Kingdom. But, we could not have predicted that it behaved, since white sharks are rare in the UK. If she doesn’t go back, she can head to the islands or seamounts of the eastern Atlantic, places like the Azores. Or, perhaps, it moves in the direction of the opening to the Mediterranean Sea, because there are white sharks in this region.”, Bob Hueter concludes.
The scientific community believes that this white shark may have made this unorthodox trajectory because it is pregnant and has been looking for calmer waters and without the presence of male specimens.
Nukumi is the largest white shark ever marked with geolocalizer in the Northwest Atlantic by OCEARCH. Scientists believe that this animal is about 50 years old due to the large scars it presents.
This specimen left the coast of North Carolina, in the United States, on February 22nd and, since it was marked, it has traveled more than 10,000 kilometers.
The 50-year-old matriarch crossed the Mesoatlantic Dorsal Chain on April 5 and has been located several times since then.