12-foot great white shark lingering off Myrtle Beach coast

In this Aug. 11, 2016, photo, a great white shark swims past researchers as they chum the ocean looking for sharks in the waters off Gansbaai, South Africa. Extensive research by shark expert Michael Rutzen and his marine biologist partner Sara Andreotti has found that great whites off the South African coast are rapidly heading for extinction. (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Hilton the great white shark is spending his spring break off the coast of Myrtle Beach,  according to data from the OCEARCH website.

The shark was tagged by researchers on March 3, 2017 and has been swimming around the Grand Strand since March 9. As of Wednesday night, Hilton continued to ping off the shore of Myrtle Beach.

According to the OCEARCH website, Hilton is a male great white shark over 12 feet long and weighs in at more than 1,300 pounds. Researchers chose his name after he was caught off the coast of Hilton Head Island during their Low Country Expedition.

Since he was tagged, the massive fish has slowly been making his way north, pausing to spend several days near Myrtle Beach.

The organization’s website allows users to follow the movements of almost 200 sharks in real time all over the world. Each animal with a tag has a profile online with information about their species, size, location and a section for photos, videos and even a link to the shark’s Twitter account run by OCEARCH researchers.

In addition to getting people interested in marine science, the OCEARCH website says the data gathered allows researchers to learn more about migration patterns, feeding behavior, breeding sites and uncover which areas of the ocean are in need of more protection.

Last December, a similar great white shark weighing about 3,000 pounds was caught by the fishing charter company Outcast Sport Fishing  and captain Chip Michalove near Hilton Head. Michalove catches sharks and attaches an acoustic tag on them. He then releases the sharks back into the water. The tags stay on the shark for seven years.

 

 

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