White sharks like Florida waters. Here's 11 things to know, including who's out there now

Ah, spring in Florida.

Perfect temperatures. Well, most of the time. Those record high temperatures can't continue, can they?

Great beach weather. Except for the spring break crowd. And red tide. And sargassum seaweed.

And there's nothing in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic being monitored by the National Hurricane Center.

But there are great white sharks out there being tracked by Ocearch.

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What white sharks are currently being tracked off Florida?

Ocearch reports three white sharks have "pinged" recently off the coast of Florida — two in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Atlantic.

A "ping" happens when an animal's tag breaks the surface of the water, sending data to researchers. A Z-Ping is a ping with no location data.

In 2013, Ocearch was able to successfully tag and release Lydia, the first great white shark tagged off the coast of Jacksonville. The shark weighed in at approximately 2,000 pounds and measured 14 feet, 6 inches.
In 2013, Ocearch was able to successfully tag and release Lydia, the first great white shark tagged off the coast of Jacksonville. The shark weighed in at approximately 2,000 pounds and measured 14 feet, 6 inches.

White shark Tancook 'pings' off Amelia Island

Tancook, a juvenile white shark, pinged at 10:38 a.m. March 7 about 60 miles east of Amelia Island, which is located northeast of Jacksonville.

The shark measured 9 feet, 9 inches long and weighed 715 pounds when it was tagged 18 months ago in the waters off Nova Scotia.

He has pinged off the coast of Florida dozens of times each of the last two winters, including just off the coast of St. Augustine on Jan. 21, 2022, and Ormond Beach on Dec. 12-13, 2021.

Tancook seems to favor Florida waters — and he's not alone.

White shark Rose 'pings' off Sanibel, Cape Coral

Rose has been wandering around about 50 miles off Sanibel and Cape Coral this week.

Rose is a juvenile, measuring 10 feet 5 inches long and weighing 600 pounds when she was tagged Oct. 4, 2020, off Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

She pinged off Sanibel at 9:52 a.m. March 7. A Z-ping was recorded at 7:03 a.m. this morning, followed by another ping at 8:47 a.m. west of Marco Island.

Great white shark Maple 'pings' off St. George Island

Joining Rose in the Gulf of Mexico but giving her plenty of space is white shark Maple, who pinged March 6 about 43 miles southeast of St. George Island in Florida's Big Bend area.

She must like the waters. Ocearch said Maple has spent much of the winter for the past two seasons in the Gulf of Mexico.

Maple is considered a sub-adult white shark. She was tagged Sept. 14, 2021, off Ironbound Island, Nova Scotia.

She was 11 feet 7 inches long and weighed a hefty 1,264 pounds. With those kind of statistics, maybe Rose is giving Maple plenty of space.

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White shark Keji pinged near Sarasota

A male juvenile white shark, Keji, pinged off Longboat Key near Sarasota and Tampa Bay on Feb. 27 and again Feb. 28 a little farther west. A Z-ping was recorded 10:53 a.m. March 4.

Keji, a juvenile male white shark, was tagged Sept. 22, 2021, off Ironbound, Nova Scotia.

He weighed 578 pounds and was 9 feet 7 inches long.

Anyone noticing a theme of a lot of sharks being tagged off Nova Scotia?

Are there a lot of shark attacks in Florida?

Florida has ranked No. 1 in the number of shark bites for decades. Florida’s 16 cases in 2022 represent 39% of the U.S. total and 28% of unprovoked bites worldwide, according to the Florida Museum. Florida’s most recent five-year annual average is 22 incidents.

None of the 16 Florida cases in 2022 were fatal.

Of the 16 unprovoked shark attacks, seven occurred in Volusia County, followed by four in Monroe County and one each in Martin, Nassau, Pinellas, Brevard and Palm Beach counties.

From 2010 to Jan. 13, 2023, New Smyrna Beach has seen twice as many shark attacks — 32 — as any other beach and 10 surf zone fatalities. Those statistics put New Smyrna Beach in the list of America's 10 "deadliest" beaches to visit. In recent times, sharks are not blamed for deaths on the shores of Volusia County, however.

Other Florida cities making the list of shark attacks during the same time period were:

  • Cocoa Beach: 7 shark attacks

  • Ormond Beach: 4 shark attacks

It is extremely unlikely for Atlantic swimmers and surfers to be bitten by — or even encounter — a shark.

The University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File recorded a worldwide total of 73 unprovoked shark bites in 2021, 47 of which were in the United States, according to NOAA.

The numbers dropped in 2022, with 41 confirmed cases.

Is it great white shark or white shark?

The terms represent the same species, Carcharodon carcharias.

Most scientists seem to prefer to use the name white shark. Most people seem to prefer saying great white shark or great white.

Memories of "Jaws" perhaps?

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Can you catch white sharks in Florida?

White sharks are among the species that are prohibited from harvesting in state waters, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Prohibited shark species must remain in the water with the gills submerged when fishing from shore or from a vessel, and must be released without delay.

Where do white sharks live?

White sharks can be found around the world and often migrate to follow their preferred temperature of 50 to 80 degrees.

In the U.S. Atlantic, they range from Maine to the Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Caribbean. In the U.S. Pacific, they range from Alaska to California and Hawaii.

What is the biggest white shark ever recorded?

The biggest great white shark ever recorded is a female shark named Deep Blue.

She was spotted and filmed for the 2014 episode of Shark Week’s “Jaws Strikes Back” and measures in at 20 feet long and is estimated to be more than 5,000 pounds. Scientists believe she’s about 50 years old.

Deep Blue has her own Facebook page, with 12,000 followers.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Are white sharks in Florida waters, near beaches? 11 things to know