The water off Long Beach Island is Mary Lee’s latest stop on her Jersey Shore tour.
The white shark, a.k.a. a great white shark, surfaced in the Atlantic Ocean off LBI around 5:20 a.m. and then again at 6:56 a.m. Thursday, according to nonprofit research group OCEARCH’s Global Shark Tracker. By 12:16 p.m. she was off the coast of Barnegat Light.
The 16-foot, 3,456-pound shark swam from near Atlantic City north to LBI over a 24-hour period.
Over the Memorial Day weekend Mary Lee -- no stranger to the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey's coast -- surfaced in the water near Cape May, New Jersey, and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware before the mature predator headed north along the New Jersey coastline.
Researchers have been monitoring the shark’s movements after tagging her off Cape Cod on September 17, 2012. Since then she’s made several trips to New Jersey.
Mary Lee isn't the only shark in our region. Cisco -- weighing around 362 pounds and measuring 8-feet, 7-inches -- appeared Friday morning at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, slightly closer to Lewes, Delaware, than Cape May. Cisco hasn't surfaced long enough since to get a reading on his latest location.
OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer says the group's mission is to gain data about the white shark population in hopes of protecting fish in the ocean. He says people shouldn’t fear a shark being in local waters. Instead, they should celebrate it because of what a shark means to the ocean ecosystem.
"People should be terrified of an ocean that's not full of sharks. They keep everything in balance," Fischer said. "So, if we want to make sure that our great-grandchildren can eat fish sandwiches, we need lots of big sharks."
You can track the movements of Mary Lee and Cisco by clicking here or by downloading the Global Shark Tracker app for your iPhone or Android. You can also follow Mary Lee and Cisco on Twitter.