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Great white shark saved on Chatham beach likely survived

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Given all that Jameson had been through, experts were skeptical at first that he would survive.

But researchers from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy say that the great white shark that washed up on a Chatham beach during the summer, and was tagged and named "Jameson," may have pulled through after his harrowing ordeal.

Cynthia Wigren, president of the conservancy, a non-profit group that conducts shark research on the Bay State waters with state biologists, said data downloaded last week from a special buoy off Plymouth picked up a ping from the tag that researchers had attached to the shark's fin in July. The ping was detected from Jameson in October.


The buoys can track any tagged sharks swimming within a 200-yard radius, and record the date, time, and the shark's tag number.

Wigren said the general rule of thumb for scientists is not to count single pings like the one picked up on Jameson, but the conservancy is hopeful that the data collected by the buoy wasn't just a fluke. Generally, there are multiple detections on a receiver, Wigren said.

"He had been through a lot ... and with what he looked like when we arrived at the beach that day — he wasn't moving for awhile," she said. "I am hopeful that he swam by in Plymouth, but scientifically they question the data."

In a video captured by a bystander in July of Jameson washed up on Chatham's South Beach, the shark can be see flopping back and forth, struggling to breathe.

Several people poured buckets of water on the young shark's body to keep him alive until help arrived.

When experts pulled up to the scene, they immediately went to work, and towed the shark back into the water, about a mile out. They tagged him and set him free, but were unconvinced the shark would make it.


Experts had previously picked up pings from Jameson's acoustic tag from buoys set up in Orleans and Provincetown, in July and August, respectively. But then nothing. The latest data from his detection off Plymouth, while still murky, was yet another hopeful sign of the shark's long-term survival.

"The fact that we heard from him — we were incredibly excited about that," said Wigren. "We hope to see many detections from him next season."

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.