Florida

Where is this whale shark going? A new 'ping' offers a clue

Whale sharks again spotted by boater off Anna Maria Island

Captain Barry Moss said he was on his 25-foot boat Thursday about 20 miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island when he spotted multiple whale sharks swimming nearby.
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Captain Barry Moss said he was on his 25-foot boat Thursday about 20 miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island when he spotted multiple whale sharks swimming nearby.

A whale shark recently tagged in waters near Sarasota has made her way down near the Florida Keys, according to Mote Marine Laboratory.

Minnie, one of two whale sharks Mote scientists placed tracking devices on a few weeks ago, "pinged" her location through a tracking device about 50 miles north of the Keys on Saturday, June 30, according to a news release. That means she has moved about 150 miles over three weeks.

The data from her tracking device was transmitted via satellite to Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Dr. Robert Hueter. The tags are recording data about sharks’ locations, depth and temperatures, but must surface for a certain time period to ping.

The swimming speed of the whale sharks "appears to be keeping them submerged most of the time so far," according to the news release.

The tags attached to Minnie and another whale shark, Colt, will release and float to the surface of the water by mid-December, according to Mote.

Whale sharks were spotted twice off the coast of Florida near Anna Maria Island and again near Longboat Key and New Pass in June. Scientists tagged Minnie and Colt on June 14.

Jacob Campoamor said he was on a boat Saturday about 40 miles off the coast of Anna Maria Island when he saw multiple whale sharks swimming nearby.

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