Monday, May 11, 2015

Sharks Don't Get No Respect

There are many discussions now about how social media invade people's privacy.

But what about sharks and their privacy?

Here is a picture of a great white shark, a female, that was minding her own business swimming in the waters off Cape Cod in 2012 when she was caught, dragged aboard a boat and tagged with a device that tracks her movements.  

The taggers even gave her a name, Mary Lee.  Did anyone bother to ask if she wanted a name or even if she liked the name the sound of Mary Lee?  My guess is no.

After being tagged -- and tagged again, if you think about it -- Mary Lee was dumped back into the Atlantic, where she has traveled from the waters off Massachusetts to Florida and back many times over the years. 

Although she has never sought attention, Mary Lee has become possibly the most famous great white ever, or at least since 1975, when a huge animatronic version in a Steven Spielberg movie almost single-handedly launched the summer blockbuster movie craze.  The movie, Jaws, concerned a human-hunting shark that terrorized a small fishing town in New England.

(Fish scientists have reassured us many times since the Jaws movie was released that great whites almost never attack humans. This may be so, but an acquaintance of mine and her boyfriend were attacked, killed and partly eaten by a great white as they kayaked in the Pacific Ocean off Malibu some years back. This is a true story.)

Perhaps because of that summer movie, humans seem to regard summer as shark season. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Mary Lee interest is rising as the days count down to Memorial Day weekend. She can be followed on a website called, which maps her movements, as well as those of other tagged sharks that have been given anthropomorphic monikers ranging from from Adelaide to Zac.  

And, while I am pretty sure Mary Lee did not ask for this, she also has a Twitter account, @maryleeshark, sort of like a Kardashian.   

Sunday morning came reports that Mary Lee had made a pass near the Jersey Shore.   The information was conveyed with breathless excitement by various news outlets.   Her path is that day is below.

Such reports send landlubbers running to the beach with binoculars, hoping to see their favorite shark in situ.  My guess is that Mary Lee is thinking, why won't these silly people leave me alone? 

By late in the day, shark fans were speculating that Mary Lee would head north for Long Island and the celebrity-choked Hamptons, but this did not turn out to be so.  Maybe later, when the official season begins.  For now, she is still cruising the waters off New Jersey. 

Below is a map of Mary Lee's most recent travels.  


No comments:

Post a Comment