Featured Image Credit: OCEARCH
By Alice Morris
Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
We’re all familiar with the valuable advice Dory gave Marlin in Finding Nemo, but one shark along the northwestern Atlantic coast has taken that advice very sea-riously.
Lydia the Great White shark was fitted with a satellite tag back in March of 2013 so that scientists could track her movements.
Now with thousands of miles under belt, Lydia is breaking records, according to Robert Hueter, director of the Center for Shark Research at the Mote Marine Laboratory.
“She’s traveled almost 36,000 miles on a journey… up and down the coast, throughout the northwestern Atlantic, and even crossing over the mid-Atlantic,” says Hueter. “She’s the only shark that’s been shown to do that in this part of the world.”
Scientists are still unsure of the motives behind Lydia’s epic journey, but her story has attracted thousands of followers on Twitter.
“She’s been quite a traveler and figuring out her patterns has been quite challenging,” said Hueter.
Hueter is especially fond of Lydia because he was a part of the team that tagged her in 2013.
Lydia was also the first Great White that Hueter got to touch in what was a very special moment for the scientist.
“This fourteen and a half foot huge girl came on board, and I was just thrilled. It’s a day I’ll never forget,” he said.
Hueter’s research aims to protect shark species that face serious threats in many parts of the world.
“When we look at a shark like Lydia we do more than just track them,” said Hueter. “We’re taking blood samples and kinds of health assessments, to look at the various threats that they face. We are trying to protect these animals to help bring them back, because we know they are critical for maintaining a healthy ocean.”
Great white sharks are hunted for their fins and teeth and they are commonly caught as bycatch by commercial fisheries.
The species is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
You can follow Lydia’s Twitter page here to track her incredible journey.