SOUTHPORT, N.C. (CBS Local) — Researchers are trying to figure out why great white sharks are clustering off the coasts of South and North Carolina, as indicated by satellite tracking data shared Saturday on social media.
Eight tagged great white sharks are now practically on top of each other in the Atlantic Ocean along the border of North and South Carolina, as mapped by OCEARCH, a nonprofit organization that tags and tracks great white sharks along the East Coast.
“What do you think could be causing this big gap in where white sharks are pinging right now,” the nonprofit asked Saturday in a post on Facebook.
“There are pings in the Gulf of Mexico and then a big grouping in North Carolina/South Carolina but none in the middle,” the post concluded.
Researchers began noticing a convergence of great whites off the Carolinas in late January, but they more spread out.
Now the tagged sharks, ranging in size from 8 feet to nearly 13 feet, are converging off Southport, North Carolina, The Charlotte Observer reported
While the experts don’t have a clear explanation for what’s going on off the Carolinas, they do believe the sharks could have been driven north by warmer weather in Florida.
They also say shipwrecks in the region provide artificial reefs that thousands of fish now call home.
“I do believe we’re seeing more sharks come back because of protections that are in place,” Brian Dorn, associate director of North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, told CBS News when a cluster of great whites converged off the Carolinas coast in May 2019. “So it’s a conservation success story.”