Massive 883-pound shark tracked off New Jersey coast

ByAnnie McCormick WPVI logo
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Massive 883-pound shark recently tracked off NJ
A nearly 900-pound, 11-foot-long great white shark pinged off the coast of Atlantic City as she made her way north last weekend.

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey -- A nearly 900-pound, 11-foot-long great white shark pinged off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey as she made her way north last weekend.

Her name is Freya, and she was tagged and continues to be tracked by OCEARCH, an ocean research organization. On Tuesday, Freya, who weighs 883 pounds, pinged off the coast of Rhode Island.

Friday's ping was close to the shoreline, but Captain John Malecki of the Atlantic City Beach Patrol said there is no need to panic as this time of year it's normal for sharks to migrate north.

He says even dolphins are rarely seen close to where surfers or swimmers would be.

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A lobster diver told WCVB about his near-death experience inside a humpback whale's mouth off Cape Cod.

"It's highly unlikely. I had an old captain who told me once that the only sharks you have to worry about in AC are the loan sharks," said Malecki.

Still, he said if they hear about a tracked shark nearby, they do notify lifeguards to stay alert. In his 25 years, however, Malecki said he never had to do that.

Last July, a 10-foot great white shark known as "Miss May" was spotted near Atlantic City beaches.

The head of OCEARCH, Chris Fischer, gave some advice on what to look for.

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"If you walk out to the beach and the birds are crashing on bait, and game fish are crashing on bait - if there's seals on top of that - then you might have a larger predator coming in to balance that system," said Fischer.

Tuesday's rainy weather made way for excellent surfing conditions.

Don Milora of Ventnor City hit the waves with his surfboard and said he would not do anything differently if Freya or any other shark were to ping close by again.

"They've always been here, but now we're monitoring them more so we know where they're at," said Milora.

Beachgoers like Brandon Smith of West Philadelphia said he would stay on the beach.

"A 900-pound shark -- I'm definitely not getting in the water with. That's definitely respecting nature. I'm cool right here," said Smith pointing to the sand.