‘First Documented Sighting’ of Great White Off Alabama Coast

Researchers from the University of South Alabama (USA) filmed a great white shark named Miss Pawla off the coast of Alabama. Dr. Sean Powers, director of USA’s Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences, calls the sighting “rare.”

Last week, USA announced researchers spotted the female juvenile shark on underwater cameras near Alabama’s artificial reef zone. Miss Pawla, who is about 8 feet long and approximately 15 years old, apparently stuck around for about 10 days last month, but as of Friday last week, she is no longer there.

It’s not common to see a great white shark off Alabama’s coast. Powers told USA: “We have surveyed over 1,000 artificial and natural reef areas over the last 10 years, providing scientific data to assist the State of Alabama in managing its offshore fisheries. This is our first documented sighting of a white shark.”

Though this is the first documented sighting by scientists in the area and a rare occurrence, divers have reported seeing white sharks off the coast of Alabama. USA says a fisherman caught one recently and another great white washed up on the shore of the Florida Panhandle. These unofficial sightings suggest the species may be more common in the northern Gulf of Mexico than researchers thought.

The university says that in the United States, white sharks are more common off the coast of California and in the cooler waters off the coast of New England.

Researchers captured the footage of Miss Pawla about 150 feet below the surface of the water near the artificial reef.

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