Mary Lee just can't stay away from the Jersey Shore. The 16-foot, 3,456-pound great white shark's shore tour included stops off Ocean City, Ventnor and Longport in the past 48 hours.
Nonprofit shark-tracking group OCEARCH got a series of pings from Mary Lee Tuesday night into Thursday morning. Mary Lee surfaced at 5:48 p.m. Tuesday off Ocean City's 19th Street beach. About 30 minutes later, Mary Lee pinged off of Ventnor City in the area of the Ventnor City Library.
At 7:59 p.m. Tuesday, Mary Lee pinged a little further north before heading south and reappearing at 5:33 a.m. and 9:18 a.m. Wednesday off Ocean City again.
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Mary Lee then surfaced two times Wednesday night off Ocean City before moving north and pinging at 4:45 a.m. off the coast of Longport.
"A 'ping' is determined when the tagged shark's dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water and transmits a signal to a satellite overhead," OCEARCH said while noting the exact geo-location is an estimate.
Mary Lee could be headed away from the coast as the shark's latest reading came at 5:07 a.m. further out to sea. Of course, with the circles she's been swimming, she could just as well be making another Jersey coastal stop.
These are the latest appearances for Mary Lee who surfaced near Atlantic City's coastline on May 31 and near Cape May, New Jersey and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware over the Memorial Day Weekend.
Researchers have been monitoring the shark’s movements after tagging her off Cape Cod back on September 17, 2012. Since then she’s made several trips to New Jersey.
OCEARCH expedition leader Chris Fischer says the group's mission is to gain data about the great 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 and other sharks by clicking here or by downloading the Global Shark Tracker app for your iPhone or Android. You can also follow Mary Lee on Twitter.