Local man spots great white shark

At least one; possibly two in our area

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -  The snowbirds may be heading home but a traditional lover of the cold is deciding to spend some time in our waters, and a lucky few have seen it.

Zach Garrison went out fishing last Saturday catching a few snapper.  But offshore from Vero Beach, in only about 30 feet of water, he caught a glimpse of something more.

"I had a chum block going and all of a sudden a great white came to the back of the boat," said Garrison.

Had he ever seen one before?   

"No.. except Jaws."

Garrison said he had second thoughts about sitting on the side of the boat.

"It circled back and forth, it never went around the boat. Stayed in the back just stayed in the chum," said Garrison.

After about 10 minutes the shark was gone. He went home to confirm what he saw.

"We started to goggle pictures, tiger shark, makos whatever, a few different sharks and we realized it was a great white," said Garrison.

Captain Tris Colket spent decades as a commercial shark fisherman. His boat the Last Mango is docked at the Fort Pierce Marina.

"The fact that they're here in the summer as opposed to catching them in the winter time in colder water is a bit alarming," said Captain Colket.

While juvenile great whites have been in Florida for a long time, Capt. Colket said it's rare to see a grown specimen, especially this far south.

"We think twice before going out for our afternoon swim," said Capt. Colket.

Marine scientist Dr. Grant Gilmore has been studying sharks for many years. He says the shark appearance could be the result of something in the gulfstream.

"It could be that the gulfstream is flowing faster. It could mean more eddies coming off the gulfstream and therefore more cold water upwellings on the continental shelf," said Dr. Gilmore.

That water action could be bringing more food to the continental shelf for the sharks.

As of Tuesday night, one great white named Katharine has been tracked by satellite to the ocean waters off Stuart. 

You can follow her path through this site set up by Ocearch.org, which tagged the shark last summer in Cape Cod.



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