Great white sharks have begun circling near the Jersey Shore, as experts track several monster sharks as they migrate from New Jersey to New York, and then up towards Cape Cod. The tagging company, Ocearch, warns of massive ocean predators as big as 3,456 pounds off the coast as beaches begin to populate for the summer.

The sharks – such as the terrifying, 600-pound beast known as Rose, and the monstrous, Mary Lee, a 3,456-pound great white – are heading toward the Massachusetts peninsula known for its seafood shacks, lighthouses, and of course, ocean beaches. Cape Cod swimmers will need to be wary of the migrating sharks, who will make their appearance sometime in late summer.

Right now, several of the tagged sharks are hovering around the middle of the east coast, with a concentration of great whites near Long Island and the Jersey Shore. The sharks around these parts are juveniles, ranging in weight from a skimpy 184 pounds to a far more scary 338 pounds. Still, the enormous Mary Lee isn’t far behind, near the southern border of New Jersey.

The founder of the Ocearch research foundation, Chris Fischer, said that “right now the sharks are loading up on dogfish, seals, and blubber over the summer,” and thankfully “humans” weren’t on that list. The 70 sharks Ocearch has tagged only represent a small portion of sharks on the East Coast and the Atlantic Ocean. “There are thousands of them on the East Coast right now,” Fischer claims.

Ocearch is tracking 70 sharks near the East Coast. Great white sharks are hovering close to the Jersey Shore.
Ocearch is tracking 70 sharks near the East Coast. Great white sharks are hovering close to the Jersey Shore. Photo Credit: Ocearch/Instagram

The research shows that the sharks are heading for Cape Cod and will reach their destination later this summer. The great white sharks will then make a U-turn and head back to the Carolinas.

Some of Ocearch’s ocean-faring friends are small like Martha, the 7-foot, 184-pound female near Long Branch on the Jersey Shore. Others are humungous, like Helena, the 12-and-a-half-foot, 1,928-pound great white shark who’s hovering farther north, near Maine.

Other sharks part of the East Coast army are Charlotte, an 8-foot, 300-pound junior; Monomoy, a 6-foot, 7-inch junior male; Rose, a 10-foot, 5-inch, 600-pound giant; and, of course, Mary Lee, the 16-foot, 3,456-pound leviathan lurking near Long Beach Island in New Jersey. Ocearch hasn’t just tagged great white sharks, though.

Gale, a Pilot Whale, is farther from the coast, keeping her distance from the shark packs. Then there is Rocky Mazzanti, a female whale shark weighing in at 25,000 pounds, however, she’s staying where it’s more roomy, far away from the shore.

For those swimmers wondering what beaches will have visitors, they can check Ocearch Global Shark Tracker, a data-driven map that indicates where great whites are hanging about. Though it’s important to stay informed about potential shark-infested waters, Fischer offers some calming words of advice.

Fischer explained that while shark attacks are certainly possible, they’re infrequent. He said that swimmers can still have fun at the beach as long as they’re smart about it. “It doesn’t make sense to dress up like a seal and go out in the middle of the food chain,” he admitted.

He continued, saying that “the moment you’re 3 feet in the ocean, you’re in the wild, and you’ve taken a risk. It’s the same thing as wandering off into the woods without protection or unprepared during the bear season — you might get yourself killed.”

Fischer also said that it’s important to steer clear of shark feeding grounds. He wants swimmers to look out for spots with large groups of seals, or flocks of birds diving into the water, because those are clear signs of avian-life taking the scraps when the great white sharks have had their fill.

Though shark-infested waters could scare off some beach-lovers, most swimmers can take solace in the fact that Rocky Mazzanti, the 25,000-pound whale shark, is taking a break from the beach this year.