Ironbound, a massive great white shark that weighs nearly 1,000 pounds, has recently been spotted prowling in the Atlantic Ocean near the U.S. coastline.
The enormous creature measures 12 feet, 4 inches long and weighs approximately 998 pounds, according to the marine research group Ocearch. The group recorded him on Monday and Tuesday in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The great white had been sighted off New Jersey’s coast a week before.
Ironbound’s latest journey comes just days after researchers recorded two other great whites coming extremely close to the North Carolina coastline. Research has revealed that great white sharks are just finishing their mating seasons , possibly explaining their close proximity to the U.S. coastline.
Ironbound, whose name comes from the West Ironbound Island, was originally tagged by researchers in October 2019 near Nova Scotia, Canada. According to Ocearch, the great white was given a tracking device which pings whenever he reaches the surface of water.
When he was first tagged, researchers referred to Ironbound as one of the “toughest sharks” they’ve ever come across.
“Our Fishing Master Captain Brett McBride said that [this] was one of the toughest sharks he has seen, especially considering [its] size,” Ocearch Expedition Leader Chris Fischer told Newsweek in 2019. “At 12 foot, 4 inches and right about 1,000 pounds, [it] fought like some of the much bigger sharks we’ve encountered in places like Guadalupe Island, Mexico and South Africa that were 15 feet long or more. Ironbound was tracked over the years from Canada to Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico. He’s even been known to deviate from other sharks in his species by traveling in opposite directions or visiting the same waters twice in one season. In total, researchers estimate that he’s traveled some 13,000 miles.
“Mating season is over, we think, and Ironbound is on his way north to get into some good feeding ground and bulk up again for the next year,” ” Bob Hueter, chief scientist at Ocearch, told The Independent this week. He said, “They are moving north to very rich feeding ground off of Canada or the northeastern US.”
Researchers still don’t know the full extent of the great white’s mating habits. Ocearch’s recent research has shown that great white sharks can be found living along the Carolina coasts in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean during winter.
The other two great white sharks that were recently spotted near North Carolina, named Ulysses and Tancook, will likely follow Ironbound’s lead and head back North, Newsweek previously reported.
Newsweek contacted Ocearch for additional comment.