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Long Island

Great white shark Mary Lee lurks off Long Island coast

Great white shark Mary Lee was tagged by

Great white shark Mary Lee was tagged by OCEARCH in 2012. The most recent ping was May 12, 2015 at about 10 a.m. off the coast of Robert Moses State Park, the organization said. Photo Credit: OCEARCH.org

Perhaps Tuesday's summerlike weather had Mary Lee, a 3,500-pound great white shark, wanting to take in the scene at Fire Island.

The predator's tracker pinged a few miles off Robert Moses State Park at 10:36 a.m., according to OCEARCH, a nonprofit that researches sharks.

News of the great white's proximity has excited commercial fishermen and tour operators.

Some believe she's headed north toward Cape Cod to give birth, as other sharks have done, said Capt. Rick Cohen, owner of Fish My Bonni Charters and Freeport Water Taxi and Tours.

"I think everybody loves a good story, and when it's based on one of the most feared creatures in the world, 'Jaws,' . . . suddenly everybody's cheering on the great white shark that ate Capt. Quint," he said.

Every season, Cohen said, boaters off Long Island radio in great white sightings, but they're rarely confirmed.

Mary Lee, a mature, 16-foot-long female, had been in waters off New Jersey since May 6. Early Tuesday, OCEARCH said the shark moved north and east, toward Long Island.

The shark has more than 38,000 followers on the Twitter handle @MaryLeeShark and more than 41,000 likes at her Facebook page, Maryleeshark.

OCEARCH named the shark after tagging it off Cape Cod in 2012.

"Looks like @MaryLeeShark is in a 'New York State of Mind' @billyjoel off Long Island," tweeted one follower, @MA_Sharks.

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