Sharks in Rhode Island

The Atlantic Shark Institute has observed around 15 species in Rhode Island, of which the Atlantic angel shark is the most unique because of its flattened body and widened pectoral fins. With the help of the shark tracking devices placed in the water by the Department of Environmental Management”, more sharks have been traced in the waters of Rhode Island. Their pace and movement pattern has also been detected with ease. From 2019-2022 around 20 great whites have been tagged moving along the RI waters.

In fact, in June 2022, a 10 ft. 8 inches tall great white Andromache was tagged in RI. In another incident that occurred the same year, researchers from the University of Rhode Island who set out to tag mako sharks were in for a surprise. They had encountered a young great white instead, which was circling their boat.
When speaking about shark attacks, it has been extremely rare in Rhode Island since 1670. The only confirmed unprovoked fatal attack occurred in 1895, where a man named Beattie fell victim to a shark bite. 

Sharks in Rhode Island

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Rhode Island

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Blue Shark 6-11 feet Not aggressive
Thresher Shark 10-18 feet Not aggressive
Shortfin Mako Shark 6.5-9.5 feet Highly aggressive
Basking Shark 23-30 feet Not aggressive
Sandbar Shark 5.5-8.5 feet Not aggressive
Great White Shark 11-16 feet Highly aggressive
Porbeagle Shark 6-12 feet Not aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Sand Tiger Shark 7-10 feet Not aggressive (due to their small mouths)
Spiny Dogfish 2.5-3.5 feet Not aggressive (due to their small size)
Atlantic Angelshark 3-4 feet Moderately aggressive



Yes, shark fishing is allowed in Rhode Island, with mako, tiger shark, blue shark, and basking shark being the main catches. The ideal months for fishing in the state are from May-July.

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