Great white sharks ping near Florida Keys en route to the Gulf

Writer: Paul Dolan
great white shark
Jekyll, a great white shark tagged by OCEARCH for research. CREDIT: OCEARCH

Great white sharks tracked by OCEARCH are continuing their winter journey through Florida waters and nearing the Gulf of Mexico.

According to OCEARCH, Scot, Rose, Jekyll and Keji all recently pinged, showing them navigating the Florida waters as far south as Key West and as far north as off the coast of Tampa Bay.


Rose is a female juvenile great white shark over 10 feet long and weighing 600 pounds. Rose pinged just west of Key West, very close to a small island called Archer Key, shortly after noon on Tuesday.

OCEARCH said the ping on Tuesday was very close to the same spot as two years ago.

OCEARCH has been tracking Rose for over three years. Rose has kept busy over the last month, swimming from the waters off the coast of Bulls Bay, South Carolina, all the way to Key West.

In 2022 and 2023, Rose meandered through the Gulf throughout March. With February coming to a close, OCEARCH is excited to see if Rose continues her Gulf of Mexico tradition.


Scot is a male adult great white shark over 12 feet long weighing more than 1,600 pounds.

OCEARCH has been keeping tabs on Scot since Sept. 8, 2021. In that time, Scot has swam an impressive 13,522 miles. He’s swam as far north as the Gulf of St. Lawrence and reached as far south as the Straits of Florida.

“Scot was the 74th great white shark tagged, sampled, and released by OCEARCH in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean,” OCEARCH says on their website.

Scot pinged just south of Big Pine Key shortly after noon on Wednesday. Scot and Rose didn’t just ping near one another within 24 hours, they’ve taken a similar path the past 30 days.

On Jan. 31, Scot was a few miles off the coast of St. Helena Island, South Carolina.

Scot and Rose are swimming like they’re in a race to the Gulf, given their similar paths. As of Wednesday, Scot is a few miles east of Rose.

Scot also pinged in the Gulf in 2022 and 2023, journeying up the west coast of Florida to waters off the coast of Charlotte County.


Jekyll is a male juvenile great white shark more than 8 feet long and weighing almost 400 pounds.

WINK News has been following Jekyll’s pings for a few weeks since he started his first trip down the east coast of Florida.

After pinging off the coast of Florida near Miami, he kept swimming south into the Straits of Florida. He then shifted westward, going past the Florida Keys.

On his most recent ping on Feb. 15, Jekyll was nearing the Gulf of Mexico. He’s started shifting north this time and appears to be ready to go up the west coast of Florida.

Jekyll has never been reported in these waters since he was pinged on Dec. 9, 2022.


Keji is a male juvenile great white shark more than 9-feet long and weighing 578 pounds.

Keji has spent the last month in waters off the west coast of Florida.

On Feb. 1, Keji was a few miles off the coast of Marco Island. He made an abrupt U-turn on Feb. 19, off the coast of the Florida Keys.

He then traveled north to waters off the coast of Saint Petersburg, just before 10 a.m. on Tuesday. OCEARCH shows another ping less than eight minutes later, indicating an abrupt westward turn, perhaps heading into the Gulf.

In January, Keji swam through the Gulf of Mexico, meandering to waters as far as off the coast of Mississippi.

Keji must enjoy the waters around Florida. He’s been swimming through Florida waters since Nov. 30, 2023. That day, Keji pinged a few miles off the coast of Jacksonville Beach.

Since getting tagged, Keji has swam nearly 12,500 miles.

OCEARCH tags various species, such as sea turtles, dolphins, alligators and fur seals. OCEARCH does this for research in an effort to understand the wildlife better.

shark in nature
Photo by Daniel Torobekov on

OCEARCH’s mission is to return balance to the oceans. By using science and data gained from the tags, OCEARCH hopes to inform the public about these species in ways previously impossible.

Since 2007, OCEARCH has tagged 437 animals and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

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