White shark spotted off Louisiana coast indicates that gulf waters are flourishing
BATON ROUGE - This week a 2,078 lb. white shark was spotted off the coast of Louisiana and experts say the animal's presence indicates that the Gulf of Mexico's ocean life is healthy.
Chris Fischer, OCEARCH's founding chairman and expedition leader, says seeing the shark in this area is a crucial indicator.
He told The Advocate, "It’s like having the mountain lions return to the forest because the forest is healthy again, or the wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone and thriving."
"If those top-of-the-food-chain, indicator species do well, the system is doing well."
He went on to explain that these sharks typically choose to spend time in flourishing areas. When white sharks are spotted in an area, it's a guarantee that commercial fisherman will find an abundance in those same areas and that future generations will have fish to eat.
The shark, named Unama'ki, measuring 15 feet, 5 inches, moved west of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a ping from her tracker on Sunday. Her name is what the indigenous people of Nova Scotia call Cape Breton, which means 'land of the fog.'
Researchers hope Unama'ki, a mature female, could lead them to where she gives birth and reveal a new white shark nursery.
"Unama'ki is starting to open up a new piece of the puzzle as far as where the full range of the North Atlantic White Shark is," Fischer said. "I guess now we need to call it the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico White Shark."