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Great white shark spotted off the Alabama coast – University of South Alabama got to name her

Twice in the last month, a female great white shark has been spotted off the coast of Alabama, according to researchers with the University of South Alabama.

The school named the shark “Miss Pawla” after one of the Jaguars’ mascots and got the chance to name her because she had never been recorded before and was identified by great white’s unique scarring patterns on their heads and fins.

Miss Pawla is about eight feet long and estimated to be about 15 years old, while South is also tracking a 12-foot long tiger shark which they named SouthJaw.

She is not the first great white spotted in the area recently either, with one being caught by fishermen and another washing up dead on the beach of the Florida panhandle. The species was not thought to be common in the Northern Gulf of Mexico, but now researches are not so sure.

Miss Pawla is, however, the first great white spotted by scientists and documented in the area.

“We have surveyed over 1,000 artificial and natural reef areas over the last 10 years, providing scientific data to assist the State of Alabama in managing its offshore fisheries. This is our first documented sighting of a white shark,” said Dr. Sean Powers, Director of USA’s Stokes School of Marine and Environmental Sciences.

The school also reminded everyone that sharks are critical to the state’s rich marine ecosystem and that they must be released if caught.

“Alabama has a rich marine ecosystem, and sharks are an important element. Anglers are reminded that white sharks are a federally prohibited species and must be released alive if caught,” the school said in a news release.

Michael Brauner is a Senior Sports Analyst and Contributing Writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @MBraunerWNSP

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