UA student spots great white shark in unlikely place

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A University of Arizona student made a rare discovery near Boston, spotting a great white shark in a habitat they are not commonly found. 

Charlie Landa, a natural resources major who also minors in marine biology, was aboard the New England Aquarium whale watch when he saw a large dorsal or back fin in the waters of a protected marine sanctuary off Massachusetts Bay.

Landa, a summer intern, notified the boat's naturalist. The Boston Harbor Cruises vessel slowed and pulled alongside the large shark. Those aboard took pictures.

A tentative ID was made of the 10-12 foot shark, but marine biologists consulted with naturalists and shark researchers to double check. They unanimously confirmed Landa's discovery.

Great white sharks are very rarely seen in the seas on the northwest corner of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. The apex predators' primary habitat is along the Atlantic-facing beaches of the Outer Cape, just 10-20 miles away.

Maybe, this shark was revisiting youthful haunts. More likely, white sharks, which migrated up the East Coast earlier in the summer, have been known to cruise throughout the New England waters and even into those of Maritime Canada.

Because of Landa, the visitors on the New England Aquarium whale watch who originally went looking for big whales also got to see the legendary big fish.

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