12-foot-long great white shark ‘Miss Costa’ pings off Pinellas coast

Great white shark Miss Costa and a map showing the locations she's been since she was tagged in Sept. of 2016. Images credit OCEARCH

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 12-foot-long great white shark named Miss Costa appears to have made the trek south for the winter and was recently hanging out in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pinellas County.

This is Miss Costa’s first visit to our area.

Miss Costa is one of many sharks that have been tagged with a GPS tracking system by OCEARCH researchers. Scientists from Sarasota’s Mote Marine Laboratory have been working with OCEARCH to track sharks.

The researchers track a shark’s “ping” when its dorsal fin breaks the surface of the water and transmits a signal to a satellite. The  transmission then sends back an estimated geo-location, according to the OCEARCH website.

Miss Costa pinged off the coast of Pinellas County at 10:05 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

Miss Costa weighs 1,668 lbs. and is 12 ft. 5 inches long. She was first tagged by OCEARCH on Sep. 23, 2016.

Back in July, Miss Costa pinged off the southern Nantucket. She then meandered around in the waters off the east coast.  On Nov. 8, she pinged off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. Then on Nov. 14, she pinged off the coast of Georgetown, South Carolina.

On Dec. 10, she pinged off the coast of Key Largo. On Christmas, she was near Key West, then did not ping again until 6:21 a.m. on Jan. 1 off the Sarasota County coast in the Gulf of Mexico. She moved closer to the coastline that day and pinged off the Pinellas Coast at 10:05 p.m.

Miss Costa has not pinged since.

Another great white shark named Katherine, has previously pinged off the Florida coast.

Learn more about tracking sharks at the OCEARCH website.

Great white shark Miss Costa. Image credit OCEARCH

 

Great white shark Miss Costa. Image credit OCEARCH
Great white shark Miss Costa. Image credit OCEARCH

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