Katharine the great white shark off Lake Worth - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Katharine the great white shark off Lake Worth

Story Video: Click here

Great white sharks are once again being spotted off the Florida coast.

Two weeks ago, local divers came face to face with one near Juno Beach.

Right now, another great white named "Katharine" is being tracked off the coast of Lake Worth.

How do beachgoers feel about this?

"Shark around the corner is kind of scary especially since there's a lot of people in the water right now," said teenager Joshua Teitelbaum, who spent the day at the beach with his family.

Katharine has been monitored by a group of marine biologists called OCEARCH for years since she was first tagged in Cape Cod in 2013. She has a tracking tag on her and has been seen swimming as far north as Nova Scotia.

You can follow Katharine's journey yourself by clicking here.

However, Katharine hasn't been seen in Florida waters since 2014, when she was spotted in the Gulf of Mexico on the west cost of the state. The 14-foot, 2,300-pound shark has been 'pinged' near Lake Worth for the past couple of days. A ping registers when the shark surfaces.

"It's really remarkable to see," said Joanne Fraser, a local shark diver with Calypso Dive Charters.

Fraser came face to face with another great white shark near Juno Beach just two weeks ago.

"I think there's a lot more around here than people think. I just think with the technology now and more and more sharks being tagged that were able to keep track of them," she said. "If you think about it, if there's only that one great white shark that's tagged that's coming through here, there's got to be a bunch more."

And just on Monday, OCEARCH posted on Facebook about a male great white shark named George that was pinged heading south near Daytona Beach. Researchers speculate if he is following Katharine. 

Fraser says researchers are still learning more about why great whites come down to Florida, but it typically boils down to water temperature and food.

"I think they're trying to find out more about their lifestyle, where they go, what they're doing, where they have pups," she said.

Daisey De Jesus just signed up for surf lessons, but now she's having second thoughts.

"We were a little hesitant because of the shark situation, now hearing this I'm like thank you for those butterflies," she joked. "Maybe I'll wait for that tag to show she's going way back up north or something!"

Others would love to see Katherine up close.

"I'd love to see sharks. I'm excited and I have a need for an adrenaline rush, so I think it would be awesome if I could come into contact with one," said John Hill, who just moved to Florida from Oklahoma.

Fraser said sharks of all species usually want nothing to do with humans. Even the great white she encountered in the waters near Juno Beach made a quick exit after coming into contact with humans.

"I had a crate full of bait and was putting out a chunk trail and it wasn't even coming close to me. They're very scared of people," she said.

Fraser hopes Katharine's presence will help raise awareness about shark research, which has been severely underfunded in recent years.

"It's great that people are starting to take interest now and are being curious of them instead of being afraid of them, which is the way it should be," she said. "They are fascinating creatures and want absolutely nothing to do with you."

Shark experts warn that on days with rough waves, the waters can be churned up and murky - making for low visibility and more confusion for sharks following fish to eat. Some sharks might confuse a surfers foot for a fish.

Fraser said bites are rare, but it's something to watch out for.

Scripps Only Content 2017

Powered by Frankly

1100 Banyan Blvd.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 Raycom Media. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.