The Largest Great White Sharks Ever Found Off U.S. Waters

Largest Great White Sharks
joebelanger from Getty Images Pro and Hrecheniuk Oleksii/ via Canva.com

Written by Chanel Coetzee

Published: May 30, 2024

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Great white sharks occur all around the world. However, this species has high concentrations near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the Northeastern Pacific, and the North Atlantic. But, the great white sharks off the US West Coast are an isolated population that occurs off California and Guadalupe Island, situated 150 miles from the coast of Baja California, Mexico. But, the largest great white shark off the US was recently spotted in Hawaii. The incredible footage was taken by a National Geographic crew in 2019. This massive shark is around 50 years old and is affectionately named “Deep Blue.” People love hearing stories about sightings of this mysterious shark, so she even has her own Twitter account, @Deep_Blue_Shark.

Largest Great White Shark Off the US: Size

On average great white sharks measure between 11 and 15 feet long, but there is one female that puts the rest to shame, and she has been spotted a few times over the years. Her name is Deep Blue, and she was first spotted in the 1990s. However, the first recorded footage of her was only captured in 2013. She also appeared in Shark Week’s “Jaws Strikes Back” segment in 2014. This gigantic shark measures a whopping 20 feet long and weighs approximately 2.5 tons!

Unfortunately, a tag has never been fitted to Deep Blue, and researchers typically search for her in familiar locations. However, she appeared off the coast of Hawaii in 2019 and was spotted by a National Geographic documentary crew. She seemed to have just eaten, but there could be a chance she was pregnant.

great white shark

Great white sharks have high concentrations near New Zealand, Australia, South

Africa

, the Northeastern Pacific, and the North Atlantic.

Other Large Great White Sightings Off the US

There have been several large great white sightings off the US coastlines. As these sharks migrate far distances, seeing the same shark in various locations is not unusual.

Haole Girl — 20 Feet Long

A shot of the beautiful wild great white shark underwater

The great white shark is the largest predatory fish on earth.

This massive shark was mistaken for Big Blue. She was first sighted off Oahu’s coastline in January 2019. The footage shows a 20-foot shark, eight feet wide, which was named Haole Girl. Unfortunately, there is not much information on this behemoth, so hopefully, there will be another sighting soon.

Breton — 13 Feet Long

The nonprofit marine research group OCEARCH tracks dozens of sharks to provide open-sourced data on their migration patterns.

OCEARCH is a nonprofit marine research group that tracks dozens of sharks and provides open-sourced data about their migration patterns. They have tagged one of the largest great white sharks off the US, named Breton. He is a massive male, approximately 13 feet long, and weighing around 1,437 pounds. This nonprofit initially tagged Breton in September 2020 near Nova Scotia. However, his tracker pinged close to North Carolina’s outer banks in March 2023. These electronic trackers will ping whenever the shark’s dorsal fin breaches the surface. Researchers believe that Breton is following the migration patterns of other great whites in the Atlantic and is making his way from the Florida Keys to Canada.

In 2022, Breton also made an appearance just off the shore of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which caused a lot of panic for residents. Luckily, OCEARCH subdued residents by explaining that the giant shark was at least 60 miles offshore.

Ironbound — 12 Feet 4 Inches Long

OCEARCH can track tagged sharks when the cruise at the surface.

OCEARCH can track tagged sharks when they cruise at the surface.

Ironbound is a massive male shark first tagged in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 2019. He measures 12 foot four inches and weighs about 996 pounds. Researchers named the shark after West Ironbound Island, located near Lunenburg, where he was first spotted. Ironbound traveled about 13,000 miles since being tagged. However, in 2022 his tracker pinged off the coast of New Jersey.

Maple — 11 Feet 7 Inches Long

shark

Maple is an 11-foot-seven-inch great white shark who was first tagged in Canada in 2021. Since then, she has made her way down to the Gulf of Mexico. But there have been many sightings of her traveling up and down the East Coast. She is a gigantic specimen weighing approximately 1,200 pounds! In March 2023, Maple pinged 43 miles off the Northern coast of Florida. OCEARCH explains that Maple has spent the last two winters in the Gulf of Mexico, but if you want to keep up with her movements, you can track her here. In fact, if you visit OCEARCH’s website, you can follow any of the sharks they have tagged. Not only does it show their most recent ping, but it also shows you their previous location.

Summary of the Largest Great White Sharks Ever Found Off US Waters

RankName of SharkLength
1Deep Blue20″
2Haole Girl20″
3Breton13″
4Ironbound12’4″
5Maple11’7″

What Do Great White Sharks Eat to Get So Big?

tagged great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, swimming in the blue waters of the Neptune Islands, South Australia

Young great white pups, seeking protection from larger predators, consume smaller seals and substantial meaty fish as they grow and develop.

Great white sharks, unlike Jaws depicted, eat once every few days, about 2-3% of their body weight. They don’t hunt until the meal is digested.

Being carnivores, great white sharks have diverse tastes but steer clear of plants. They are capable of preying on juvenile sharks and baby dolphins, although dolphins are typically ignored due to their pod-hunting behavior and retaliatory attacks. Seals, on the other hand, are a favored meal for most great white sharks. These creatures, consisting of 50% fat and rich in protein, provide the sustenance sharks need to survive. Young great white pups, seeking protection from larger predators, consume smaller seals and substantial meaty fish as they grow and develop.

Watch Our YouTube Video on These Massive Sharks


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About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

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