A trio of divers had a close encounter with a great white shark Feb 17.
Tommy Allore, a member of the group, filmed the encounter with his GoPro camera around three miles off shore of Jupiter in southeastern Florida.
“I think everyone was just excited,” Allore, a Stuart resident, told CBS 12. “We knew how special that moment was. It’s not common to see them, especially out of a cage, underwater. I knew I wanted to get down there and get a photo with it. Luckily, it stayed around long enough to capture that.”
Allore was fascinated by the shark and came within around 20 -feet of the shark, which he estimated at 10- to 13-feet long.
“It was just awesome. Making eye contact with a great white is just a unique situation. It was just beautiful,” he said.
Amazingly, this was not the first time this shark has been filmed.
John Chisholm of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fishers (DMF) examined Allore’s video and identified several unique natural markings on the shark.
That is white shark ‘Salty’ (WS12-08). He was 1st tagged off Cape Cod by Capt. Bill Chaprales on 8-8-2012. His tag popped off years ago but I can ID him by his natural markings. If you see a white shark please report it via @sharktivity or tag me in your photo. #WhiteSharkPuzzle pic.twitter.com/4H661MmdEZ
— MA Sharks 🦈 (@MA_Sharks) February 18, 2019
Using its markings, Chisholm confirmed the shark had been spotted in August 2012, when Captain Bill Chaprales tagged the shark, designated WS12-08, and named it Salty.
Chisholm, who knows his white sharks, even shared a video of Salty as he enjoyed a fat seal.
Allore’s sighting shows how important shark tagging programs are to understanding the travels of sharks.
Currently there are several active shark tagging programs and studies operating on the East Coast.
The DMF, with the support of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, is collaborating with several studies on the ecology and reproduction stage of white sharks in the North Atlantic, along with an analysis of DNA sequence variations in white sharks within and among ocean basins.
Shark taggers with OCEARCH are currently on an expedition off the coasts of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia to electronically tag sharks with satellite transmitters (SPOT tags). The information and travel patterns of sharks is shared publicly on the group’s Shark Tracker.
The information from the programs can help researchers understand where sharks travel, their overall health, and insights to congregation and birthing sites.
Sharks are vital to the ocean’s sensitive ecosystem. Without the apex predator, there would be a loss of balance which could be catastrophic for the ocean’s food supply.