Florida

Mako shark makes a 5,000-mile sprint to South Florida in just 142 days

Nova Southeastern University researchers are tracking a 6.5-foot long mako shark like this one that swam from Maryland to South Florida — a 5,000-mile trek — in 142 days.
Nova Southeastern University researchers are tracking a 6.5-foot long mako shark like this one that swam from Maryland to South Florida — a 5,000-mile trek — in 142 days.

Nova Southeastern University shark scientists are marveling at the stamina of a mako named Hypower making a sprint from Maryland to South Florida — a 5,000-mile journey — in just 142 days.

After researchers tagged the 6.5-foot-long male shark off the Maryland coast in the fall, Hypower circled offshore between New York and New Jersey, took a few loops around the North Atlantic, then made a beeline down the East Coast. The shark then trekked close to shore in North and Central Florida before heading to South Florida, where it swam down to the Keys and back toward the mainland.

The research is part of a Guy Harvey Research Institute project studying the torpedo-shaped makos.

Nicknamed the ‘cheetahs of the seas,” makos can swim up to 60 mph. The sharks are known for making remarkably long treks — a young female named JiffyLube2 (for her sponsor) covered more than 10,000 miles in 2015.

As part of their research, Nova researchers are tracking dozens of makos in the North Atlantic, the Caribbean, the eastern Pacific and off New Zealand to study their migration patterns. Makos have been widely overfished for their fins and are now considered vulnerable to extinction. They also frequently get tangled in nets or hooked on longlines. Several of the makos Nova reseachers followed have been hooked, including a young female off Maryland after a 9,200-mile journey.

“Unfortunately, about 22 percent of the makos that are tagged are caught or killed by commercial or recreation fishermen," Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation executive director Greg Jacoski said in a statement.

To track Hypower’s journey, click here.

The Canaveral Princess, a party fishing vessel operating out of Port Canaveral, had an encounter three days after Christmas with a 12-foot great white shark, which gulped one angler’s hooked mangrove snapper before slowly swimming off.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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