Nova Scotia is home to many great oceanic predators. It is also where one of the largest great whites ever recorded was found. Great white sharks are one of the most feared animals in the sea. Despite the fear they strike in many hearts and minds, people are still endlessly fascinated by these creatures.
The largest great white ever caught in Nova Scotia was over 17 feet long and weighed 3,541 pounds. That’s over 500 pounds more than a Toyota Corolla! It’s also over 1,000 pounds larger than the average great white shark.
Continue on to learn more about this shark and some of the other large great whites caught.
Queen of the Ocean
This is the nickname given to Nova Scotia’s largest great white caught. Her official name is Nukumi which is a legendary grandmother figure from Mi’kmaq Native American culture. Not only is she a massive specimen, but researchers at OCEARCH estimate she might be 50 years old, giving her her “grandmotherly” status.
Nukumi was caught, measured, tagged, and weighed in October 2020.
By tagging Nukumi researchers hoped to get about five years of information from the tag. Her location, feeding spots, breeding grounds, and general habits would provide researchers with valuable information about the species as a whole. Information like their population size and migration patterns are obtained from these trackers. OCEARCH has a shark tracker where you can track sharks and other animals with active tags.
Unfortunately, her tags stopped pinging at some point in the summer of 2021. OCEARCH researchers feel confident that the tag malfunctioned or fell off and believe Nukumi is still out swimming and living her best life as an apex predator.
This is possibly the largest great white shark ever recorded on video. Deep Blue is estimated to be 21 feet in length and weighs possibly over 4,000 pounds. However, she’s never officially been caught, measured, and weighed. For this reason, scientists cannot say with certainty she is the largest.
If she is able to be caught again and weighed, then she might be a record-setting shark and finally put the debate to rest. Additionally, Deep Blue possibly was pregnant at the time of recording.
Other Record-Setting Sharks
Some early records show a great white exceeding 36 feet in length caught in the late 1800s off Port Fairy in Australia. A great white shark this size would certainly blow Deep Blue and Nukumi out of the water. Though it was later confirmed the specimen’s length was drastically overestimated, and the actual shark was a basking shark, not a great white.
Basking sharks are often misidentified to be great whites due to their torpedo-shaped bodies and length. The truth is, these sharks are very different from each other. Basking sharks are filter-feeders and mostly consume plankton and other small organisms. Their wide mouths can look very intimidating, but it’s not a threat to humans.
A true record-setting catch in April 1959 was for a great white reaching over 2,600 pounds. This big fish was caught by Alfred Dean in Australia in only 50 minutes. The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recognizes it as one of the largest fish catches ever.
How Big Do Great White Sharks Get?
Great white sharks exhibit sexual dimorphism. Most of the time when we think of one sex of the species being larger than the other, it would be males. In great white sharks and most other species of sharks, it’s actually females who tend to be significantly larger. Female great whites average about 15-16 feet in length while males are around 11-13 feet. Females can get between 1,500 to 2,400 pounds and males between 1,100-1,700 pounds.
It’s no wonder why a 21-foot (or larger) great white shark makes headlines when people encounter them. Finding these overgrown predators, such as Nukumi or Deep Blue, naturally makes people wonder just how large this species of shark can get. Even more, it makes people wonder about the megalodon.
Megalodon sharks are extinct, though some people question that reality. When megalodons did exist, they were about three times the size of the average great white shark now, which would put it around 50-60 feet in length. The largest fish alive today is the whale shark, which is about 39 feet in length. Both of these species dwarf the great white in size, though the only one coming close to matching its ferocity would be the megalodon and some other predatory shark species in existence today, like the great hammerhead shark or bull sharks.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Alessandro De Maddalena
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