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12-foot-long white shark pinged in Gulf near Tampa on New Year's Day

Posted at 9:50 AM, Jan 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 18:01:12-05

A 12-foot 5-inch 1,668 pound female white shark named "Miss Costa" was pinged in the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa on New Year's Day. 

"Miss Costa" was tagged on September 26, 2016 in Nantucket, Massachusetts by OCEARCH.ORG to gather scientific data and track her journey. She was named for their partner Costa Sunglasses. Costa has helped enable OCEARCH's work on the water. 

"Miss Costa" has traveled 5,639.237 miles and counting since being tagged. She has made her way from Massachusetts to as far south as Key West and as of January 1, 2018, she was hanging out in the waters off of Tampa and St. Petersburg. 



Mote Marine Laboratory Senior Scientist Dr. Robert Hueter released the following statement about "Miss Costa":

"It doesn't surprise us to see a great white shark in this area (Gulf of Mexico) during winter. We know that some portion of their population does come into the Gulf of Mexico, though it's not extremely common. This is one of the reasons we need to keep tagging more of these animals - to understand which ones go where, and why. Miss Costa, an immature female, was also detected in late 2016 in the Florida Keys region, so it appears that she has a pattern of coming to south Florida during winter months. But last year, her tag did not show her moving up into the Gulf as she has this year. We look forward to seeing what she does next!"

Track "Miss Costa" in the waters off Tampa by clicking here. 

Kelly Bazzle is the Digital Executive Producer at ABC Action News. Follow her on Twitter