Great White Begins His Summer Vacation Off Long Island

400-pound Jekyll was spotted over the weekend off of Quogue
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2023 8:42 AM CDT
Great White Begins His Summer Vacation Off Long Island
Stock photo of a great white (it's not Jekyll).   (Getty Images/Nautilus Creative)

Last year saw a good number of shark sightings and even attacks off the coast of Long Island, and the summer 2023 season has already kicked off with the former. NBC New York reports that a great white was spotted Friday night and had neared the coastline by Sunday morning. Chris Fischer, founder of the ocean research nonprofit Ocearch, says the shark—named Jekyll after first being tagged late last year near Georgia's Jekyll Island—was first seen from the beach off Dune Road in Quogue, on the South Fork of the island abutting the Atlantic Ocean, per "Hello from Jekyll who pinged in this afternoon offshore of #LongIsland, NY," Ocearch tweeted Monday, showing a photo of the oceanic traveler.

The group notes that Jekyll, a male juvenile, is 8 feet 8 inches long and weighs around 400 pounds. Fischer tells Patch that it's not uncommon to see great whites in this area, as "this is the time of year when they're making their normal migration north ... from their winter grounds near Cape Hatteras in North Carolina." Fischer notes that seeing white sharks hovering near Long Island is actually a "great sign," as "it means there's a lot of life and that the water quality is good." As for people scared to go in the water, Fischer notes those fears are mostly unwarranted and advises to simply use common sense.

"Don't go swimming looking like a seal" in a wetsuit, he notes (sharks feast on seals), "use common sense," and don't swim near an area where a lot of birds are swooping down to the water's surface to scoop up bait fish, as that suggests "the food chain is happening" and sharks may be nearby. "We're not on the menu," agrees Joe Yaiullo, co-founder of the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center. "If we were, sharks would just be lining up ... waiting for us to go in. But they're not. We're large, obnoxious, bony creatures in the water." Meanwhile, Fischer notes this is the first time they've been able to track Jekyll's movements as he migrates north. "We're excited to see where he spends his summer and fall," he says. (More great white shark stories.)

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