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When people think, “Massachusetts,” most people don’t think, “shark.”As the weather gets warmer, many sharks migrate to New England waters. Consequently, as the ocean doubles as our playground and their home, we at the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) have provided information and a few tips to remember to keep both us and the sharks safe.

Blue shark

A Blue Shark: image courtesy of the Division of Marine Fisheries

Some of the migratory species that travel here include the blue shark, shortfin mako, common thresher, basking shark, sand tiger, and great white shark. In our warmest months, tropical species such as the hammerhead shark and the tiger shark can make an appearance. Depending on species, their habitat can range from our nearshore coastal waters to the offshore, deep waters of the continental shelf.

Despite popular belief that sharks will eat anything and everything, most sharks have a very selective diet. Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and seals are the most common choices; humans don’t make the list. Great white sharks especially, though they are thought to be aggressive, keep to themselves for the most part. That being said, sharks can be aggressive if threatened, so it is important to never approach one.

We urge the public to use their common sense, and always be aware of their surroundings. Avoid swimming at dusk or dawn, in very deep waters, or in areas of seal congregation. Stay close to shore and stay alert. If you’ve seen a shark in coastal waters, please contact DMF immediately.

“Fun in the sun,” is the trademark of summer; Massachusetts has a variety of coastal areas to take advantage of this season. However, it’s important to remember that we share our waters and our world. Always consider the different animals that live and visit the Commonwealth, and your oceanic experiences will be all the better! Check back on the blog to learn about more seasonal tips and tricks!

Written By:


Senior biologist, Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF)

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