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Cape Cod Tagging Kicks Off Shark Season

Aug 01, 2014 01:17 PM EDT

A great white shark was tagged yesterday morning off the coast of Cape Cod, marking the first tagging for this shark season. Now, analysis of photos hastily taken of the tagged shark have revealed that she is a 12-foot-long female.

The Massachusetts Shark Research Program, in collaboration with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), tagged the white shark with an electronic tracking device early Thursday morning amidst choppy waves off Chatham in Cape Cod, Mass.

After analysis of some hasty camera shots and GoPro video footage, the AWSC announced today that "It's a girl!" via social media. She has since been named Avery.

This is reportedly the first Atlantic-swimming shark to be tagged this shark season.

According to the AWSC, they have been flying shark spotters over Massachusetts waters, especially after boat captain Tyler Macallister spotted a massive great white estimated to be somewhere between 16 and 18 feet in length.

"I am still in awe 24 hours after witnessing such a spectacle," he told Boston Magazine. "Video does not do justice to the size and magnificence of this animal. You can really observe the calmness and presence as she investigated me and the boat."

Most female great whites average between 14 and 16 feet long and can weigh up to more than 7,000 pounds, making Avery actually a bit of a small fry for her species.

She is now the 40th traceable shark that is known to frequent Cape Cod waters. According to the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Cape Cod waters are common research grounds, and boast a number of tagging programs dedicated to tracking apex ocean predators.

OCEARCH, which allows the public to follow shark progress in real time, frequently tags sharks in these waters. In fact, the internet sweetheart shark Katherine was tagged in Cape Cod waters.

Katherine, a 14-foot-long and 2,300-pound white shark, was last seen making her way towards Texas waters.

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