Department of Environmental Conservation

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Coastal Sharks

Visit DEC's Sharks webpage for information on shark species commonly found in New York.
image asking if you've spotted a shark in ny

Shark Spotter

We invite you to submit your observations of sharks in the wild. The observations you submit help biologists record the presence of sharks in New York State waters and also help to further the understanding of local shark ecology and behavior.

If you are fishing, boating, or enjoying the beach and observe a shark, please take some pictures, then report your sighting using the DEC Shark Spotter digital survey (leaves DEC website).

Public Viewer

Do you want to see the shark sightings that others have reported? Check out the Shark Spotter Public Viewer (leaves DEC website).

New York Shark Salvage Program

Dead sharks are retrieved by DEC whenever possible in order to record information such as species, sex, and length, and document the carcass with pictures and its stranding location coordinates. DEC responds to all species except dogfish, unless there is a mass die off event, and coordinates with a network of researchers to complete in-depth exams on recovered sharks.

To report your sighting of dead sharks, use DEC Shark Spotter digital survey (leaves DEC website).

Shark Fisheries Management

NOAA Fisheries finalized a fishery management plan and began managing the U.S. shark fishery in federal waters in 1993. For information about the federal management of Atlantic Sharks, visit NOAA Fisheries Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (leaves DEC website).

comparison of different shark claspers
Shark claspers identification. NOAA Fisheries

Coastwide management of sharks in state waters is regulated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Coastal Shark Management Board. ASMFC Approved the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks in 2008. For more information about coastwide management of shark species in state waters, visit ASMFC's Coastal Sharks (leaves DEC website).

Shark Management Updates

On March 3, 2020, DEC increased the recreational minimum size limit for shortfin mako caught in state waters (0 - 3 miles offshore) to:

  • 71 inches (fork length) for male sharks
  • 83 inches (fork length) for female sharks
  • Males can be identified by their claspers. Females do not have claspers.

This adoption of complementary size limits in state waters will provide consistency with federal measures as part of ongoing efforts to rebuild the resource. This regulation change also keeps New York in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Coastal Sharks Fisheries Management Plan.

  • In March 2019, NOAA Fisheries has increased the recreational minimum size limit for shortfin mako shark caught in federal waters (3 - 200 miles offshore) to 71 inches (fork length) for male sharks, and 83 inches (fork length) for female sharks.
  • This amendment to the fisheries management plan (leaves DEC website) was put into effect in response to an international stock assessment which found that the shortfin mako stock is overfished, and overfishing is occurring.

Shark Research in New York

Visit these websites to learn more about ongoing shark research in New York waters (links leave DEC website):

More about Coastal Sharks: