*iStock photo
*iStock photo

A mako shark is in Bermuda waters after an epic 4,400-mile journey.

GHOF1, a juvenile female, was 15 miles offshore at Challenger Banks last night and is expected to move closer today.

She follows Great Whites Mary Lee and Lydia and numerous tiger sharks in signing the island’s ‘shark guestbook’ after crossing hundreds of miles of ocean.

GHOF1 was tagged and released five-and-a-half months ago off Ocean City, Maryland, US.

She is one of 16 mako sharks being tracked by Nova Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), which is also working with the Bermuda Shark Project in studying the movement of tiger sharks.

We’re not prey

GHOF1 is the first to approach Bermuda.

The mako is regularly blamed for attacks on humans and, due to its speed, power and size, is certainly capable of
injuring and killing people. However, this species will not generally attack humans and does not seem to treat them as prey. Most modern attacks involving mako sharks are considered to have been provoked due to harassment or the 
shark being caught on a fishing line, according to Wikipedia.

Dr Mahmood Shivji, director of GHRI’s Save Our Seas Shark Research Center, told the Sun: “The mako sharks have been surfacing anywhere from one to 12 times a day, which is quite a revelation for us, as we only expected it to be once or twice.”

The migration pattern has also been unexpected.

He said: “We expected the sharks to go north as the water got warmer and then as it got colder, for them to come back south, along the east coast of the US. 

“What’s surprising to us is that this animal and four of the other mako sharks have gone further north and further east than expected.

“This one (GHOF1) has now turned around and is coming back but is almost doubling back on its track right by Bermuda.

“We don’t know the answer to that but Bermuda seems to be an important way point for many tiger sharks, so there’s clearly something about the environment about Bermuda which is hospitable for sharks — quite possibly a food source.

“Sharks are believed to use the Earth’s geomagnetic field to navigate so when you have structures such as islands and seamounts, they also have unique geomagnetic fields around them. So the makos may be cueing into this as part of their decision as to where to go.”

The mako shark is listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the ICUN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). The shortfin mako is the fastest of the shark species, reaching speeds of up to 60 mph. 

To follow GHOF1’s journey, go to  www.nova.edu/ocean/ghri/tracking