Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Researchers Hope to Launch Expedition to Find Shark Mating Sites off Nova Scotia

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Researchers Hope to Launch Expedition to Find Shark Mating Sites off Nova Scotia

Article excerpt

N.S. waters could be shark mating hub: researcher

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HALIFAX - An internet-famed great white shark is extending his much-watched sojourn in Atlantic Canada, in what one researcher is calling further evidence that Nova Scotia's waters may be a hot spot in the shark mating scene.

The 600 kilogram shark named Hilton has been cruising along the East Coast in recent months, much to the delight of locals who have been charmed by the social media darling's wry Twitter feed, which boasts more than 17,500 followers.

Hilton -- who was tagged by the research group Ocearch in South Carolina in March -- first surfaced off the coast of Nova Scotia in early August, and the tTitter account set up to chronicle the shark's movements tweeted about his latest stop in Mahone Bay on Sunday.

"Of course I am back in Mahone Bay. I am here for the Father Christmas Festival!" @HiltonTheShark tweeted, along with a Santa Claus emoji.

Aside from a few brief detours, Hilton can't seem to say goodbye to Nova Scotia.

Perhaps Hilton is flattered by the warm reception he's received from Nova Scotians, said Ocearch founder Chris Fischer, but he thinks there may be something else drawing the mature male shark back to the province's shores.

"I believe he's up there looking for love and has been all fall," Fischer said in a phone interview from Louisville, Ky. "They should only have one thing on their mind, and that's making baby sharks."

If Hilton is hoping to woo a sharp-toothed suitor, it seems like he'll have plenty of fish in the sea to choose from, Fischer said.

Based on Ocearch's findings, shark migration patterns in Nova Scotia's southern waters are consistent with there being a breeding site in the area, according to Fischer, which could mark an important step towards unravelling the mysterious mating habits of great white sharks.

"(Solving) the life-history puzzle of these large sharks is fundamentally important to the future balance of the whole northwest Atlantic," he said. "It needs to be a U.S.-Canadian effort, because the sharks don't know where the border is."

Fischer said Ocearch, which is based in the U. …

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