May 4, 2024 at 12:34 pm

Here’s How Long It Takes A Great White Shark To Cross The Ocean

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

Great white sharks are the ocean’s largest and arguably fiercest predators.

That said, not as much is commonly known about how large an area they patrol on a regular basis – perhaps because like most fish, the migrate.

What is different about them is not only how far they travel, but how fast they can get from place to place.

Researchers in the early aughts tracked a great white shark that swam around 12,400 miles – from South Africa to Australia and back again – in around nine months time.

The shark first traveled east across the Indian Ocean, setting records for the fastest transoceanic return migration among marine animals.

Source: Shutterstock

Wildlife Conservation Society researchers named her Nicole (after Nicole Kidman, oddly).

An electronic tracker was attached to her dorsal fin in late 2003, while she was near South Africa. The tag fell off near Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia after the first leg of the journey, and the data was relayed to a satellite.

She had made the swim of 6,900 miles in just 99 days.

Researchers like biologist Dr. Ramon Bonfil, lead author on the study, were a bit surprised to learn this wasn’t the end of the story.

“This is one of the most significant discoveries about white shark ecology and suggests we might have to rewrite the life history of this powerful fish.”

It also told them something about great white shark behavior that was news to most of the world.

“More importantly, Nicole has shown us that separate populations of great white sharks may be more directly connected than previously thought, and that wide-ranging white sharks that are nationally protected in places such as South Africa and Australia are much more vulnerable to human fishing in the open oceans than we previously thought.”

Source: Shutterstock

She swam an average of 2.9 mph, which is about as fast as a tuna, and regularly plunged to depths of 3,215 feet instead of just swimming near the surface.

This is a lot of new information from one shark.

I suppose she did have to live up to her namesake.

Thought that was fascinating? Here’s another story you might like: Why You’ll Never See A Great White Shark In An Aquarium