Things are getting busy in the waters off the Jersey shore as sharks continue their annual trip up the coast.

It is believed that several great whites have been lurking off our shore, possibly including one local favorite; Mary Lee, a 16 foot, 3400 pound female, is thought to be hanging out off the coast of LBI.

OCEARCH is one of the organizations that tracks sharks; they capture sharks and attach a transponder to their dorsal fin; when the shark surfaces, a satellite reads the signal, “pinging” the shark. Mary Lee’s transponder stopped working in 2017 when the battery died.

Another great white, Andromache, was pinged off the New Jersey coast last month near the Barnegat Inlet; Andromache is a 10 foot, eight inch female. Martha, a 7 foot, 184 pound juvenile, was also pinged off the Jersey shore; she came to the surface off of Cape May.

According to, the largest great white that OCEARCH has tagged is Nukumi, who is over 17 feet long and weighs over 3,500 pounds. She swam off the New Jersey coast last fall and was last pinged in April. Last year, in addition to Martha and Andromache, other sharks that were pinged near New Jersey include 12 foot, nine inch Caroline, 13 foot Vimy, and 800 pound Miss May.

So, if shark traffic is picking up, are we in danger? Experts say no. One of the reasons is that sharks just aren’t as common as they used to be; a report in the Journal Nature, quoted by, says that shark populations are down 71 percent since the 1970s, putting three-fourths of shark species at risk of extinction.

Also, we’re not their preferred food source; they’d rather eat seals and dogfish. You’re more likely to get hit by lightning than get killed by a shark.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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