Contact: Gregory Skomal, PhD and John Chisholm

Many sharks visit Massachusetts’ waters every year as part of their seasonal migrations north, in search of food and, in some cases, mating opportunities. Our coastline is home to no less than 13 species of sharks during the warm months between May and November. Many of these species travel from overwintering areas off the southeastern US , the Gulf of Mexico, and the mid-Atlantic, arriving off Massachusetts to feed in our nutrient-rich waters.

Oceanic sharks—like the blue shark, shortfin mako, common thresher, and basking shark—swim onto the continental shelf from far offshore. Coastal sharks—like the sandbar shark, spiny and smooth dogfish, dusky, and sand tiger shark—move closer to shore. Even tropical species—tiger and great hammerhead sharks—may appear during the warmest months. One species, the porbeagle shark, is the only one found off New England year-round. Our most well-known visitor is the white shark.

Shark Tracking
The track of Mary Lee, a great white shark tagged by the Division and OCEARCH, since 2012.