A giant great white shark is “capable” of reaching the coast of Ireland after becoming the second in history to cross the Atlantic.
The 17-foot predator could head straight for European shores, just in time for summer.
The 253-year-old female stone shark, Nukumi, generally swims up and down the west coast of the United States and Canada.
But in what has been called a highly unusual move, the 50-year-old matriarch – the largest ever marked in the region by the scientists monitoring her – took a turn east, across the Atlantic.
Migratory species like great white sharks rarely cross the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a barrier in the middle of the ocean, but Nukumi took the turn earlier this month, Mirror UK reports.
And it has continued, surfacing long enough for its dorsal fin tag to “ping” a GPS location to shark trackers from the scientific organization OCEARCH.
Its chief scientist, Dr. Bob Hueter, said: “At this point in its journey, Nukumi has crossed from the western Atlantic to the eastern Atlantic over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the dividing feature between west and east.
“It has been swimming east for about two months since it left the coast of the United States in front of the state of North Carolina.”
“At its last known location, Nukumi was still around 1,700 nautical miles from the UK. Now that’s less than its distance from the coast of the US, so it is capable of reaching the coast of the UK. “
But he added: “We would not predict that she would do that as white sharks are rare in the UK.”
The only other great white shark to be tracked on the voyage was Lydia, in April 2014, who surprised scientists with an epic voyage off the coast of Portugal.
Nukumi’s two-month journey has so far taken her 1,700 nautical miles off the British coast, and experts admitted: “It is capable of reaching the UK coast.”
Boffins believes Nukumi is on the move because she could be pregnant and is looking for a place to give birth away from her aggressive male counterparts.
Nukumi is the largest white shark tagged in the Northwest Atlantic by OCEARCH to date, and researchers believe it is over 50 years old judging by its large scars.
Tracking by the nonprofit OCEARCH, which placed a tag on his dorsal fin in Nova Scotia in October 2020, shows that he travels an average of 44 miles each day.
It left the North Carolina coast on February 22 and has traveled about 5,570 miles since it was tagged. It crossed the ridge around April 5 and has “ping” several times since then.