Historic: Mary Lee the white shark is tagged off Cape Cod. She is teaching researchers at Ocearch new information about great white sharks. *Photo courtesy of ocearch
Historic: Mary Lee the white shark is tagged off Cape Cod. She is teaching researchers at Ocearch new information about great white sharks. *Photo courtesy of ocearch
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5PM UPDATE: Mary Lee, the great white shark, has moved to within just a few dozen miles of the island.

At 1:38pm today (Bermuda time) researchers received a signal that showed she was around 37 miles north east of Bermuda.

Mary Lee was tagged as part of the Ocearch Project last September off Cape Cod in the US.

And her journey up and down the east coast of the US and then towards Bermuda has been followed all the way by thousands of enthusiasts and marine experts.

The latest data received from Ocearch by the Bermuda Sun suggests that the great white was slightly closer to the island at around 1:19pm today, before she moved northwards over the next 20 minutes.

 


Mary Lee, the Great White shark that people are talking about islandwide, was 50 miles north of Bermuda last night.

 

And the latest satellite data suggests the incredible 3,500lb creature is closing in on the island.

But she’s not to be feared, experts say. We spoke exclusively yesterday to the man leading the research into her journey. 

Mary Lee has become a household name up and down the east coast of US since she was captured and tagged off Cape Cod last September and tens of thousands have followed her remarkable journey online.

Now she could end up just a few miles from our shores — the first time a shark like Mary Lee has been tracked all the way into Bermuda.


The great white currently heading towards Bermuda has had the eyes of the world on her since she was first tagged last September.

Mary Lee became a pioneer for her species after she was dramatically captured and released off Cape Cod.

And for the last five months, her voyage south along the east coast down to Jacksonville and then back up to New York has been followed every step of the way by thousands across the globe.

It has even attracted attention on national television news.

Now the next leg of her incredible journey has brought her to within 55 miles of Bermuda and the island is holding its breath.

Scientists and marine experts are quick to point out that sharks of all shapes and sizes, including great whites, tiger sharks and duskies have long been swimming around in Bermudian waters.

They say islanders have nothing to fear from the incoming wanderer — who has probably skirted the island many times before over the years.

But this is the first time that a shark like Mary Lee has been tracked all the way toBermuda, which makes this historic visit all the more intriguing and exciting.

Tagging project

Chris Fischer, Founding Chairman and Expedition Leader of Ocearch, which is conducting the groundbreaking shark-tagging project, yesterday spoke exclusively to the Bermuda Sun.

And he explained why he had named this ‘historic and legendary’ fish after his mother.

He said: “Mary Lee has taught us so much about the habits of great whites in such a short space of time.

“And she has broken just about every rule we thought we understood about these animals.

“Just when we thought she was going to head offshore and stay out at sea, she clung to the coast all the way up through North and South Carolina.

“We did not expect great whites to be in areas where the water temperature was 30 or 40 degrees but she was up there off Nova Scotia for quite a while.

“She has changed what we understand about these animals and it is incredibly exciting.

“Now she is turning up in your neighbourhood and helping people to understand more about her species.

“I named her after my mom because she is truly the most historic and legendary fish I have ever been a part of.”

The Ocearch Global Shark Tracker initiative has seen dozens of sharks captured and then tagged since 2007.

The project provides scientists with unique and groundbreaking data about the movements and habits of great whites.

This information is then used to develop conservation strategies to help protect these endangered species.

Mr Fischer told the Sun: “It is very possible that Mary Lee has been taking this track for the last 50 years but we just never knew about it.

“She is fast becoming one of the most famous fish on the planet because of what she is teaching us and the interest she has generated in her species.

“She has made people think about great whites in a different way — not as killers — but as lions of the ocean that people want to understand.

‘If we lose them the whole ocean unravels so we need to understand these creatures and do what we can to protect them. Mary Lee has brought people together from across the US and now in Bermuda to talk about great whites in a positive way and perhaps that will be her legacy.

“As for where she will go next — we just don’t know.

“But at least we will be able to follow her.”

Meanwhile local shark expert and vet Neil Burnie told the Sun that Mary Lee’s arrival to Bermuda was exciting news.

He said: “We have had great whites sighted off our shores before.

“Just last year a fisherman taking part in a tournament came across one just off the Challenger Banks.

“So it is not unheard of and you have to remember there are all kinds of sharks off our coast anyway so there is no reason to be scared. For Bermuda to be part of this research is fantastic and we need to support any effort or project there is that helps us to better understand these wonderful creatures.

“This is what being interested in our oceans and its creatures is all about and it is very exciting.”