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New tracking device shows great white shark swimming close to Florida coast

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-09 15:07:06-05

By: Hailey Winslow

(CNN) - Authorities and scientists are tracking a great white shark off the coast of Florida. Jacksonville police are urging people to stay out of the water. Hailey Winslow reports the shark entered the surf zone Tuesday morning, prompting the warnings.

Mary Lee is a 16 foot 3,400 pound Great White shark and late Monday night she was 200 yards off the the coast of Florida. Jacksonville Beach Police are advising people not to get in the water while Mary Lee is around. I think that's a great idea. I wouldn't get in the water either. Around lunchtime Tuesday, Mary Lee had turned east and popped up about 15 miles off Jacksonville's Coast.

The chances of encountering this one individual shark on a whole stretch of coastline are pretty minimal. But again there is that possibility. Another Great White, Genie, is much farther away, about 30-60 miles off the Florida Coast. The Great Whites were tagged last September by researchers in Massachusetts. The 2 sharks are wearing special GPS tracking devices on their dorsal fins that allow researchers to see their routes. University of North Florida Research Biologists are studying the Great Whites track as part of a new Great White shark research program on campus.

It's a large collaborative multi-agency effort between Uand F and researchers in Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries. It's a pretty unique opportunity for U and F and unique for Florida. Over the past month Mary Lee has stayed between 10-25 miles off the east coast. There's no telling where she'll turn up next but Monday she was a little too close for comfort.

If you want to track Mary Lee or Genie you can just head to the OCEARCH website or Facebook page.

You can actually track the shark yourself at the OCEARCH website or on its Facebook page.