A convenient benefit of having a GPS tag on a 3,500-pound great white shark is that you know when the predator swims up along the coast--and for residents of Jacksonville, Fla., this seems to be very helpful.
Ocearch, which tagged the enormous shark off Cape Cod, Mass., for a tracking study that began last September, posted this warning Monday on the group's Facebook page: "Jacksonville Beach, Fla., residents and beach users please read.
Mary Lee is a 16 1/2-foot, 3,500-pound mature female white shark. Her most recent position is off 6th Ave. S and 1st St. S in the surf break off Jacksonville Beach, Fla."
(Note: This story also appears on the GrindTv.com Outdoor blog.)
Since then, Mary Lee has traveled farther offshore. But on Wednesday she was headed back toward the coast. (Top image shows where Mary Lee was Monday and graphic posted below is from Wednesday.)
Naturally, since there are lots of surfers in the Jacksonville Beach area, people are concerned.
One of the more recent Facebook comments reads: "Any surfers that go into that water knowing the shark is in there deserve to get bit."
Of course this highly peculiar shark scare has made the local news. A headline in Tuesday's edition of the St. Augustine Record: "Huge great white shark tracked off Jacksonville Beach."
News 4 Jacksonville posted this headline online: "Great white shark enters Jacksonville Beach waters; Swimmers, surfers urged to stay out of the water until shark leaves."
Jacksonville Beach police have done most of the urging, after being informed by Ocearch of the shark's position.
Mary Lee was tagged on Sept. 17, at a weight of 3,456 pounds. Her progress has been followed by Chris Fisher, who tagged the shark, scientist Greg Skomal and the rest of the Ocearch group. (Fisher was interviewed Wednesday morning by CNN.)
Although they're able to keep tabs on this particular shark, a local fisherman named Jack Ashley provided News 4 Jacksonville with this astute observation. "It's not the only great white that's swimming out there. It just happens to be one that we're tracking."
Actually, there is a second tagged shark, named Genie, and at last check she was swimming between 40 and 60 miles off the coast of Jacksonville.