Sharks in Maine

The shark population has always taken a backseat in Maine that has been more famous for its lobsters and whales, the humped-back, in particular, inhabiting the Gulf of Maine. It was not until 2020, after a tragic incident of a great white shark attacking and killing a 63-year-old woman in Harpswell occurred, that made people concerned about the state’s shark population. This incident is the only recorded fatal shark attack here to date.

Maine doesn’t fare too badly when it comes to the total number of shark species inhabiting its waters. There are around ten of them, with the world’s fastest and second largest sharks –the shortfin mako and basking shark making it to the list.

Marine biologist James Sulikowski mentioned that sharks were always there in the waters of Maine but away from the human eye since these creatures spent most of their time underwater.

Sharks in Maine

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Maine

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Shortfin Mako 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Porbeagle Shark 6-12 feet Not aggressive
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Dogfish 4-5 feet Not aggressive (due to their blunt teeth)
Spiny Dogfish 2.5-3.5 feet Not aggressive (due to their small size)
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Bonnethead 4-5 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but are potentially dangerous)
Great White Shark 11-16 feet Highly aggressive
Basking Shark 23-30 feet Not aggressive
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)

Shark Sightings in Maine

1. In 2022, there have been several shark sightings – 12 confirmed and 1 unconfirmed. Kasey Watkins and her family were on a boat when they spotted a juvenile great white consuming a harbour porpoise along Cliff Island. They made a video of the entire moment.

In another incident, swimmers at the Popham Beach State Park saw a shark sticking its fins out in the water.

James Sulikowski and his team had been tracking a 12 feet male great white, Bobby E using a device that helped update the shark’s location whenever it reached the surface.

2. In May 2021, a 20-foot shark was seen by a lobsterman that was almost half the length of his boat. He took it for a great white, though shark expert Joan Mohan said it was possibly a basking shark.



No bull sharks have been seen in Maine to date.

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