Great white ‘Pumpkin’ spotted in Nova Scotia
CHEVERIE, N.S. — A 300-kilogram great white shark affectionately known as “Pumpkin” has been cruising Nova Scotia’s Minas Basin to feast on an abundance of seals, captivating locals and possibly shedding light on the species’ little-known migratory patterns.
Scientists say the 2.7-metre female shark was detected off Cheverie by an acoustic monitoring system that picked up a transmitter placed on it last year by researchers with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.
Fred Whoriskey, executive director of the Ocean Tracking Network at Dalhousie University, said it’s not surprising that Pumpkin ended up in the area, which is part of the species’ natural range.
He said the hungry shark is likely chasing seals, but has shown up earlier than normal.
“I’m a little surprised at how early it has appeared in the Minas Basin,” he said.
“I’m encouraged to know that our ecosystems are bouncing back and these critical components are back in place.”
He said they’ve had about six tagged great whites in the Bay of Fundy over the past few years.
Whoriskey said there was an explosion in the seal population off Cape Cod, Mass., last year, leading to a commensurate boost in the number of sharks in the area. He says researchers identified about 100 new young great white sharks last year in that area.
He said people shouldn’t panic about being in the water with Pumpkin, since he’s not aware of a single shark attack in Canada.