Great White Sharks in Maine

Good luck escaping this topic. Not only did we just wrap up the infamous Shark Week but as sightings increase in Maine, you can’t dodge the hot topic in normal conversation. It seems whether I’m at work or with friends I’m always hearing, “did you hear about the shark sighting?”

What’s crazy these days is that “the shark sighting” you hear about could be one of many. It’s no longer just that one great white off the shore but multiple swimming around and closing down beaches.

Popham Beach Closes Down Again Due to Shark Sightings

A shark spotted by a paddle boarder in Phippsburg on July 27 closed Popham Beach down for the rest of the day. Swimmers were pulled out of the water and told not to return.

The same thing just happened yesterday, August 1 at the same location. A surfer spotted a fin moving through the water between Fox and Heron Islands off the coast of Popham after a group of seals had been spotted in the area. Swimmers were once again evacuated and told not to go back in the waters.

Are There More Sharks in Maine?

Is this our new normal?

It may very well be.

Since early June, there have been at least 14 great white shark appearances off the coast of Maine, reported by the Maine Department of Human Resources. It’s tough to say if this is more than usual, as research on great whites in the area is new but marine biologist, Matt Davis, says we will definitely keep seeing more.

The biggest factor is our seal population. A recovering seal population, lack of competition, fishing protections, and slightly warmer waters all brew a beautiful breeding ground for sharks. Not to mention, our neighbor is Cape Cod which is known for great whites so it’s not a far trip for these creatures to come up our way. We see tourists from Massachusetts in Vacationland all summer long and now the sharks are joining in on the summer fun.

Shark Sightings in Maine Increase

Obviously, regardless of if there are actually more sharks here or not, sightings are going to increase compared to previous years. We are way more vigilant with all eyes on deck after the state’s first fatal attack two years ago, we have way more technology tracking these big ocean guys, we live on our smartphones taking and posting more photos and videos than ever, and news travels faster and farther every day.

As annoying and frustrating as this all is, and trust me I know, I’m terrified of swimming in the ocean now, but it is a good thing that we have more sharks than we’re used to having. At the end of the day, it is their territory and we are guests in the waters. If you want to deep dive, you may just have to become a lake guy cause our waters seem to be… occupied.

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