Sharks in Virginia

According to the data obtained by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the most common sharks in Virginia include the sandbar, Atlantic sharpnose, smooth dogfish, and dusky shark. Virginia Beach is one of the several hotspots where you could find sharks in VA, with the sandbar sharks spotted in abundance here. One could catch them in the area adjacent to the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier.

List of the Different Types of Sharks in Virginia

Species Maximum Size Aggressiveness
Sandbar Shark 5.5-8.5 feet Not aggressive
Smooth Dogfish 4-5 feet Not aggressive (due to their blunt teeth)
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark 2-4 feet Moderately aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Blacknose Shark 3-5 feet Not aggressive
Spinner Shark 7 -8 feet Not aggressive
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark 9-12 feet Moderately aggressive
Smooth Hammerhead Shark 8-12 feet Not aggressive (but potentially dangerous)
Bull Shark 7-12 feet Highly aggressive
Tiger Shark 10-14 feet Highly aggressive
Dusky Shark 9 -12 feet Not aggressive (until provoked)
Blacktip Shark 5-8 feet Moderately aggressive
Lemon Shark 9-10 feet Not aggressive
Nurse Shark 18-32 feet Not aggressive
Silky Shark 7-10 feet Highly aggressive



In 2001 there was a shark fatal shark attack in Sandbridge Beach, southern part of Virginia Beach. 10-year-old David Peltier was 50 yards off the shore with his father wading in 4-foot deep water when a 7-9 foot shark grabbed his left leg. The boy’s father desperately tried to free his son from the shark’s clutches but in vain. David succumbed to his injuries shortly at the hospital.


A few great whites have been tagged along the Virginia Beach coastline. Bob, a male great white 13 ft 4 inches in height and weighing around 1300 pounds, was traced in October 2022. He has a unique migratory pattern and has journeyed over 2725 miles. The 13-foot-long Breton was also seen along the coastline in July and weighed more than 1400 lbs.


Virginia has fantastic fossil hunting spots like the Chippokes State Park and York River State Park, where one could find diverse spots from whale bones to shark teeth.

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