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Full text of "Sharks in Maine"

SHARKS IN MAINE: INTERACTIONS OF 
BIOLOGY WITH HUMAN ATTITUDES AND USE 




Rachel Worthen 
Spring 2001 



Advisor* 



Project Director(s):. 



Student Advisor: 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

I would like to thank all those who helped me in this project. To my parents, Bill and Kathy- 
thank you for indulging my obsession with sharks and for showing me that I can do anything. 
To all the charter boat captains, whale watch captains, and biologists I interviews, thank you for 
taking the time to answer my questions and indulging me in my quest for shark information. I 
would like to thank George Burgess and all the researchers at the International Shark Attack File. 
You guys are great and make me want to become a biologist. Thank you to Merri Camhi for her 
knowledge and enthusiasm in this project. I would also like to than Elmer Beal for his 
experience in the Maine commercial fishing industry. Emily, I know you don't like sharks, but 
thanks for putting up with me. Sue, you are a girl anyone would be proud to call a friend. Kerri, 
I would like to thank you for being the biologist that you are and for going through this with me. 
You are a true friend. Finally I would like to thank Chris Petersen for pushing me to my limits 
and still wanting more. I give you the utmost respect. And to my advisor Sean Todd, for the 
past three years you have been who I turn to when I need help on papers or in classes. I thank 
you for being there, opening your house and family to me, and for joking with me every chance 
you get. Thank you! 



The sun shone down, creating crystals on the water. The water was deep 
blue-the most beautiful color I had ever seen. I was swimming, maybe wading, 
possibly just sitting in the shallow water. Whatever I was doing it doesn't 
matter. I felt the pull of something on my leg. I knew what it was. In some ways 
I expected this to happen. I knew I was imagining it. The shark had bitten off 
my foot at the ankle. I knew it had happened; I could feel the points of each 
tooth, the the crunch of the bone, the tearing of flesh. At 13, 1 awoke knowing 
what I wanted to do with the rest of my life-study sharks. 

This project will combine a love of history and culture with a firm grounding 
in shark biology and management. The main goal is to understand the variety of 
sharks in the North East region of the United States and to gauge how those 
sharks are viewed culturally. Using landing numbers, management plans 
distributed by the United States National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and 
Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and personal interviews of 
charter boat captains and commercial fishermen, I explore the shark's role in 
coastal Maine lives. 

There are three sections to this paper: shark species and their biology, shark 
management and its problems, and sharks in the Gulf of Maine and human 
interactions. Each section explores sharks through different eyes. The biology 
section discusses shark biology, and shark exploitation through human 
consumption. Management considers the 1993 Atlantic Shark Fisheries 
Management Plan-why it was enacted, what it hopes to accomplish, and how it 
will help the sharks. The last section explores why sharks are important to Maine 
fishermen. Finally, this paper will look at the interaction between biology, 
management, and the culture of shark fishing in the Gulf of Maine. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2010 with funding from 

Lyrasis Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/sharksinmaineOOrach 



SHARK SPECIES IN THE GULF OF MAINE 

Sharks inhabit all oceans, and several freshwater areas around the world and 
are the oldest extant vertebrate line, representing over 450 million years of 
evolution (Maisey 1999). From the mangrove shallows where juvenile nurse 
sharks hide from predators to the deep, dark trenches in the depths of the ocean, 
sharks range in size, shape, and threat to humans. Most recognizable sharks are 
streamlined with one or two dorsal fins, five to seven gill slits, claspers (if it is a 
male), pectoral, pelvic, and anal fins, and a caudal fin. The mouth is always on the 
terminal side of the anterior end of the organism. Sharks are classified differently 
from bony fish because sharks, skates, and rays do not contain ossified bone in 
any part of their body. Their structural system is formed instead by cartilage: the 
same material found in human ears and noses. The cartilage also helps in the 
buoyancy of the animals. Bone is both a heavier and a less elastic material than 
cartilage. Unlike other fish and marine mammals, sharks have evolved without a 
gaseous swim bladder or lung. Along with cartilage and reduced density of body 
tissues, the large, oil-filled liver also helps in buoyancy. Elasmobranchs also lack 
scales. Instead, their bodies are covered— except around the eyes, corners of the 
mouth, cloaca, and the gills— by denticles (modified teeth) or placoid scales. Thus 
elasmobranchs posses a hook-like skin that feels like sandpaper (see Figure 1). 



precaudal pit 

upper lobe . 




caudal fin 
lower lobe 



caudal keel 



Figure 1. Typical Shark Body (from Tricas et al. 1997) 

There are over 400 species of elasmobranchs ranging from the infamous 
Carcharodon carcharias (white shark) to the endangered Pristis pectinata 
(smalltooth sawfish) to the graceful Manta birostris (manta ray). The largest fish 
in the ocean is the 18 meter whale shark (Rhincodon typus) and the 6-8 
centimeter spined pygmy shark {Squaliolus laticaudus) can fit in the palm of a 
hand. Some sharks do not have teeth, instead filter feeding with gill rakers. 
However, most species have developed very individualized appetites that need 
specialized teeth. 



THE GULF OF MAINE— Area of Interest 

The area of interest for this project is the Gulf of Maine. The Gulf of Maine 
(Figure 2) forms a rectangle of approximately 90,700 square kilometers (36,000 
square miles), bordered by Browns Bank on the east, Georges Bank on the south, 
Nantucket Shoals to the southwest, and the shores of Maine and southwestern 
Nova Scotia to the west and northeast (Apollonio, 1979). At its deepest, the Gulf 
reaches 377 meters, but what makes this area unusual is the Northeast Channel-a 
40 kilometer pathway connecting the Gulf with the Atlantic Ocean (Apollonio, 



1979). Adding to this sea within a sea experience is the fact that many of the 
rivers pour freshwater in to the Gulf every spring. Therefore, the Gulf is 
comparable to a partially enclosed sea with its own currents, temperature 
fluctuations, salinities, and tide cycles. These aspects create a unique habitat for 
many different animals. The deep, cool, nutrient rich waters from the Atlantic 
travel through the Northeast Channel into the counterclockwise flow of the Gulf 
(Apollonio, 1979). This immediate shift in current flow mixes many nutrients in 
the deep water. These nutrients are fed on by plankton and fish. The fish and 
plankton become prey to filter feeders and piscivores, including most whales and 
sharks. 




Figure 2. The Gulf of Maine (US Geological Survey 1999). 



Sharks in the Gulf of Maine vary in size, abundance, and importance in the 
economy. The common sharks caught or seen in the Gulf of Maine are listed in 



order of their abundance. Each section describes the size, landings, and 
importance of the species in Maine commercial and sports fishing. 

SPINY DOGFISH SHARK (Squalus acanthias) 



Figure 3. Spiny dogfish shark (from Olsen 1999) 

Spiny dogfish (Figure 3) are one of the most abundant sharks in the ocean. 
Reaching up to 1.5 meters and 70 years old, dogfish are some of the only sharks 
that regularly form large schools. Usually found in waters from 7-15° C, spiny 
dogfish migrate to southern waters in the winter (Tricas et al. 1997). An 
important fishery on both sides of the North Atlantic, spiny dogfish can be a 
profitable industry or harmful to other fisheries. The United Kingdom uses 
dogfish-called "tope"-as the main fish of "fish and chips." American and 
Canadian fisheries uses dogfish for their meat, livers, skin, and as scientific 
research subjects. Some of the catch is sent to UK and Japan, and the skeleton is 
used for shark cartilage pills (Camhi 1998). With the groundfish fisheries in 
decline, dogfish have become a popular alternative for New England commercial 
fishermen. Their fishery has increased from 13,230,000 lbs in 1989 to 
132.000,000 lbs in 1993 (Allen 1999). On George's Bank, shark landings 
increased 50% since 1963 and 80% of Maine's landings from 1990-1995 were 
made up of dogfish (Camhi 1998). Dogfish sharks weren't heavily fished until 



7 

the late 1980's. The increased landings were in direct relationship to the fall of 
the cod and groundfish fisheries. Landing data for dogfish peaked in 1990 with 
over 6,000,000 lbs. In the next several years it slowly declined, but rebounded 
slightly in 1995 with approximately 1,500,000 lbs (Camhi 1998; NMFS 2001). 
After this peak, however, dogfish landings steadily decreased to 34,81 1 lbs in 
1999, the lowest numbers ever recorded (NMFS 2001). 

Dogfish were once, and continue to be, considered "trash fish" by many 
lobster, groundfish, tuna, and swordfish industries. Spiny dogfish are typically 
caught using gill nets and bottom trawls; however, groundfish regulations have 
almost eliminated the use of gill nets in Maine waters. Dogfish continually 
destroy nets, raid lobster traps, eat long-line bait (including the hooks), and are 
caught as bycatch in groundfish fisheries. Bycatch is when species other than 
the target species are caught. An example of bycatch is when a 700 hook long- 
line set to catch groundfish in Nova Scotia was hauled up with 690 hooked 
dogfish (Allen 1999). In the early 1900's there were many campaigns to cull 
populations of spiny dogfish. In 1938, Newfoundland fishermen and government 
officials conducted an "eradication drive" in Placentia Bay, near St. Johns. They 
caught over 10.4 million pounds of spiny dogfish (over two million individuals) 
(Allen 1998). The government stated that this in no way diminished the supply 
(Allen 1998). Because of their long gestation period (believed to be the longest 
of any vertebrate, from 20 to 24 months), bycatch and extreme numbers of 
landings has led the United States government to consider spiny dogfish "fully 
fished" and manages them as their own fishery; however, there is no fisheries 
management plan for them (Stone et al. 1998; Allen 1999). 



BLUE SHARK (Prionace glauca) 

The blue shark (Figure 4) is the world's most abundant oceanic shark and a 
long-distance migrator. Named for their blue dorsal color, blue sharks reach 
lengths up to 3.8 meters and are found in all oceans (Tricas et al. 1997). In the 
United States, blue sharks are a favorite of the recreational shark fishery and are 
commonly tagged in shark tagging programs; however, they are an important 
food source in many other countries. 



Figure 4. Blue shark (from Tricas et al. 1997) 

Commercial fishermen consider them a nuisance because they regularly eat bait 
off long-lines and get caught, or get tangled in drift nets set up for tuna and 
swordfish (Allen 1999). Japanese fishermen hunt blues for their fins for shark fin 
soup, cutting off the fins and returning the still alive, crippled shark back to the 
ocean where they slowly suffocate to death. Blue sharks are managed as a 
pelagic species under the 1993 NMFS shark management plan and the 1997 
Canadian pelagic shark management plan. 

PORBEAGLE SHARK (Lamna nasus) 

The porbeagle shark (Figure 5) is a common pelagic species. This 3.7 m, 350- 
500 lbs shark often follows mackerel-its main prey-on their migrations (Allen 
1999; Tricas et al. 1997). Sometimes known as a "blue shark" in Maine, 



porbeagles, along with other sharks in the Lamnidae family, are considered 
"warm-blooded." The porbeagle's circulatory system and musculature allows 
the heat given off from the muscles to exchange with the cool blood from the 
gills. This allows porbeagles to have increased muscular strength and a faster 
nervous system (Tricas et al. 1997). North American and Norwegian fisheries 
have hunted porbeagles for their meat. The Norwegian fishery peaked in the 
1940's and 1960's, but is now considered overfished and depleted (Tricas etal. 
1997). Like dogfish, porbeagle landings in US waters have also decreased in the 
later part of the 1990s to a low of 188 lbs in 1999 (NMFS 2001). Porbeagles are 
managed as a pelagic shark in the 1993 management plan of the NMFS and the 
1997 Canadian Atlantic Pelagic Shark management plan (Allen 1999). 




Figure 5. Porbeagle shark (from Tricas et al. 1997) 



10 



BASKING SHARK (Cetorhinus maximus) 




Figure 6. Basking shark mouth and gills 
(from Tricas el al. 1997) 




Figure 7. Basking shark dorsal fin. 
Taken in Gulf of Maine (pliotofrom S. 



Basking sharks (Figures 6 and 7) are the second largest shark species, 
reaching up to 10 meters and weighing up to 8,000 lbs (Allen 1999). Basking 
sharks are usually seen skimming water close to the surface. During late spring 
and throughout the summer, they take advantage of the cold, nutrient rich waters 
off the Gulf of Maine. Many fishermen have seen basking sharks breach. It is 
hypothesized that the sharks breach to slough off parasites and bacteria that 
attach to their large bodies (Allen 1999). Basking sharks have traditionally been 
hunted for their oil, meat, and fins. In the 1700's and 1800's, they were regularly 
taken off the Maine coast and the liver oil was used for colonial lamps (Allen 
1999). Japanese fishermen regularly take basking sharks for their meat which 
they fry, smoke, or mince, oil (used in medicinal products and as lubricant), fins 
(used in shark fin soup), and skeleton (processed into fertilizer and animal feed) 
(Allen 1999). Because of their size and diet, basking sharks are considered an 
indicator species of the oceans productivity (Allen 1999). This means that 
although humans may not be hunting and killing basking sharks in the same 
numbers as previous-years, decreases in abundance may represent a declining in 



11 



the whole health of the ocean. The basking shark is a protected species in the 
United States, prohibiting anyone from direct fishing, whether sports or 
commercial, and is managed under the 1993 NMFS management plan as a large 
coastal shark species (Allen 1999). 



THRESHER SHARK (Alopias vulpinus) 

Although rare in the Gulf of Maine, the thresher shark (Figure 8) is a common 
and easily recognizable species south of Maine. The most distinguishing 
feature-the dorsal lobe of the tail-can reach up to 1/2 the total body length. The 
thresher reaches 5 to 6 meters in length and is fished for it's 1,000 lbs of meat and 
fins. The New England Aquarium published a 1997 study stating that between 
1976 and 1994, thresher shark numbers declined 67% in the Atlantic Ocean, 
probably due to overfishing (Allen 1999). The thresher is protected as a pelagic 
shark under the 1993 shark NMFS management plan. 




Figure 8. Thresher shark. Taken in Gulf of Maine (photo from S. Katona) 



12 



SHORTFIN MAKO SHARK {hums oxyrynchus) 
LONGFIN MAKO SHARK (I.paucus) 

The shortfin mako (Figure 9) is considered the fastest shark in the ocean and 

can reach bursts of speed of up to 22 miles per hour. Although not as fast, 

longfin makos share a similar biology to shortfin makos. Both species of makos 

reach 3.95 meters and 1,000 lbs, and are found worldwide (Allen 1999;Tricas et 

al. 1997). These sharks usually migrate toward the poles with the warmer waters 

during the summer and into more equatorial ranges during winter months. Like 

porbeagles, the mako is warm-blooded, allowing it great bursts of speed to catch 

prey such as squid and oceanic fish (Tricas et al. 1997). Best know for its role in 

Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, makos are a popular tournament 

fish. In most cases, when a mako is hooked-through sports fishing or as 

bycatch-it will jump up to 6 meters in the air and sometimes land thrashing on the 

boat deck. Images in movies such as Deep Blue Sea and The Perfect Storm are of 

makos and not their close cousin the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). 




Figure 9. Shortfin mako shark (from Tricas et al. 1997) 



13 



Makos are fished in many areas around the world; however, since the early 
1980's, mako numbers have been steadily decreasing. Sports fishing for makos is 
second only to marlin tournaments (Allen 1999). Japanese fisheries continue to 
take makos for shark fin soup. In US Atlantic waters, numbers decreased an 
estimated 68% between 1978 and 1994 (Allen 1999). NMFS manages mako 
sharks as a pelagic species in the NMFS shark management plan and Canada 
manages them under the Canadian pelagic shark management plan. 

(GREAT) WHITE SHARK (Carcharodon carcharias) 

The white shark (Figure 10) is the fourth largest species of shark and is found 
in the family Lamnidae along with porbeagles and makos. Because of the colder 
waters, white sharks do not stay in the northern waters during most of the year; 
however, white sharks have been caught in Newfoundland and Massachusetts 
(Allen 1999). Although uncommon in the Gulf of Maine waters, white sharks are 
sometimes seen following the migrating pilot whales. The white shark is a 
protected species in US waters, meaning that no one can fish directly for white 
sharks. 



14 




Figure 10. White shark (from Tricas et al. 1997) 



GREENLAND SHARK (Somniosus micro cephalus) 

The Greenland shark (Figure 1 1) is part of the dogfish family and is typically 
found in the Polar Regions of the Atlantic (Tricas et al. 1997). Also called sleeper 
sharks, Greenland sharks reach up to 6.75 meters and can weigh over 2000 lbs 
(Allen 1999). Their distribution only reaches the northern sections of the Gulf of 
Maine; Greenland sharks are not usually seen by divers because of its cold, deep 
habitat. Thought to be slow, stupid creatures, these sharks are caught regularly 
by Eskimos and Norwegian fishermen. Like puffer fish (family Tetraodontidae) 
Greenland shark meat can be poisonous, but if cooked correctly-boiled three 
times-it is a Icelandic specialty. Greenland sharks are mostly hunted for their liver 
oil-used as lamp oil and is rich in Vitamin A. Neither United States nor Canadian 
fisheries have management plans for Greenland sharks. 



15 




Figure 11. Greenland shark (from Tricas et al. 1997) 



MAINE COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL 
SHARK FISHING 

In 1996, Maine ranked 1 1th in commercial shark fishing among the 18 Atlantic 
and Gulf of Mexico states (Camhi 1998). The most numerous catch were spiny 
dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and porbeagles (Lamna nasus). Most of Maine's 
commercial landings occur from May to September, with the majority in the first 
month (Camhi 1998). Commercial landings of all sharks in the Gulf of Maine 
averaged 3.6 million lbs/yr. between 1990 and 1995. Cumulative landings from 
1982-1996 were almost 30 million lbs and valued at $4.6 million (Camhi 1998). 
Although there are dramatic declines in dogfish and porbeagle shark landings, the 
other commercial shark fisheries in Maine have stayed relatively the same. 

With the commercial landings being as small as they are, one can surmise that 
Maine's recreational fishery is not very large. Maine has the smallest recreational 
shark fishery of the Atlantic coast. In 1996, fewer than 1,000 fish were recorded, 
from takes and catch-and-release (Camhi 1998). This is partly because most 
angling takes place in federal waters far away from the shore and is not counted 
in state takes. The most common species caught in Maine recreational fisheries 



16 

are blue sharks (Prionace glauca), but these are usually released because they 
are considered inedible (Camhi 1998). 

MANAGEMENT THEN AND NOW 

It has taken centuries for Canada and the United States to establish 
management for sharks and their associated fisheries. Since the 16th century 
shark meat, teeth, and cartilage was used for food, medical preparations and 
remedies, and as decoration (Stone et al. 1998). The 1930's showed an increase 
in the fishery. Shark livers-rich in vitamin A-became a natural supplement to 
human diet. This fishery lasted only several years because of low demand for 
other shark products, laboratory synthesis of vitamin A, and extreme overfishing 
(Stone et al. 1998). Often called the "poor man's marlin," sharks were frequently 
caught and eaten by fishermen and their families. They were an inexpensive and 
readily available food source. 

Sharks and their relatives continued to be fished throughout the mid 20th 
century. As people moved to and vacationed on ocean front property, shark 
habitats became smaller and more polluted by human waste. In 1973, Peter 
Benchely-a freelance writer and shark enthusiast-wrote Jaws. This fictional 
novel, based on five real shark-swimmer attacks that occurred in mid- 19 10s New 
Jersey, led to the killing of many sharks. The word shark became synonymous 
with destroying and devouring anything in their path. Lawyers, Saturday Night 
Live characters, cheating girlfriends, and villains became know as "land sharks" 
and "man eaters." James Bond's nemesis often had a shark tank, holding pin, or 
pet shark. All of these misinformed ideas led to an increase in killing and hunting 
of sharks. The angling of sharks became a popular sport. Recreational fishermen 



17 

started promoting shark fishing trips and shark jaws are a popular commodity in 
coastal tourist areas. It proved to be an adrenaline rush to tackle a "monster" of 
the sea. 

In the 1970's and 1980's, scientists and conservation organizations 
throughout the United States and Canada noticed the decrease in shark numbers 
and were concerned about overfishing due to bycatch, increased trophy value, 
and the opening economic markets in the Pacific rim countries (Camhi 1998). 
Researchers were worried about shark numbers due to three aspects: little life 
history data, role in bycatch, and the increased competition with humans for 
habitat. 

Sharks have a K-selected life history: slow growth, late sexual maturity, long 
lives, and few young (Stone et al. 1998). These factors lead to species that can 
easily be overfished. Sharks are unable to reproduce frequently enough to 
replace the amount of sharks that are killed by a fishery and through bycatch. 
Scientists also know that national management plans are needed because of the 
highly migratory nature of many species. Many sharks migrate between 
temperate zones and warmer areas containing nurseries. In the summer, many 
sharks search for cooler waters by traveling up the coast or lower in the water 
column to find food and nutrients. In winter, they travel down the coast or up 
the water column away from cold waters. 

Bycatch and discards, the second aspect, still is a large problem in managing 
sharks. Many sharks, especially dogfish, eat bait and get caught on long-line 
hooks or suffocate in floating gill nets. The worst bycatch comes from the 
offshore tuna and swordfish fisheries (Camhi 1998). This is because sharks share 
most of the same prey and inhabit the same areas with tuna and swordfish. 



18 

Sharks were thought of as "trash fish" and not considered something to take 
back to shore. Many fishermen would throw the dead sharks they found on their 
lines or in the nets into the ocean. From 1979-1988, United States shark landings 
were annually 6,000 metric tons, but discards-that are usually not documented- 
averaged almost 16,000 metric tons (Stone et al. 1998). With the fall of the 
groundfishery, new gear restrictions were enacted diminishing most of the gill net 
bycatch. However, shark bycatch is still a large problem in many other fisheries 
and this makes it difficult to describe exact population estimates. Bycatch and 
discarded sharks are usually not written down and analyzed, therefore it is hard 
to determine the exact extent of bycatch and discards on separate species. 
The third aspect in needing a comprehensive shark management plan is the 
continued destruction of shark habitat. Very few sharks spend all their lives in 
the open ocean. Most travel to mangroves, shallow waters, or coral reefs for 
summer habitat, birthing young, deposit eggs, and as nursery grounds for 
juveniles (Camhi 1998). The increased inhabitation of the coast and all the 
natural resources used puts strain on these areas. 

Using information gathered from previous research, the United States and 
Canadian governments produced their own management plans for sharks in the 
early 1990's (NMFS 1999; DFO 1999). The goal of both management plans is to 
help protect sharks through taking into account biology, while profiting on the 
increasing interest in commercial and recreational shark fisheries. Two major 
fishery reasons for implementing a management plan are the lack of good landing 
data (specifically species and size ranges) for all shark species except dogfish, and 
increasing amount of finning-the practice of cutting fins off still live sharks and 
discarding the rest of the body (Stone et al. 1998). Taking into account both 



19 

biological and economical aspects, the United States management plan has four 
main goals: prevent overfishing of shark resources; manage stocks throughout 
their ranges; effectively collect data, produce research, and set up a monitoring 
program; and increase benefits of shark resources to the United States while 
reducing bycatch and finning (Stone et al. 1998). 

FEDERAL MANAGEMENT— UNITED STATES 

Before 1990, sharks were managed under the Regional Fisheries Management 
Councils created by the Magnuson Fisheries Act of 1976 (Camhi 1998). The five 
Regional Councils responsible for all Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean 
fishery populations were overseeing the take of sharks. But in 1990 the National 
Marine Fisheries Service took over the management of sharks and their fisheries. 
After three years of public input, discussion, and analysis of existing data, NMFS 
implemented the Atlantic Sharks Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) in 1993 and 
several revisions occurred in 1997 and 1998 (Camhi 1998; Stone et al. 1998). 

The Atlantic Shark FMP manages 39 species of sharks from 3 to 200 miles 
from shore, divided into the areas in which they are fished-small coastal sharks (7 
species), large coastal sharks (22 species), and pelagic sharks (10 species). There 
are also 35 shark species that are included for data reporting, but are not managed 
under the FMP (Camhi 1998). In 1997, NMFS prohibited the take of five large 
coastal species due to their low population numbers. This made it illegal to catch 
basking (Cetorhinus maximus), bigeye sand tiger (Osontaspis noronhai), sand 
tiger (O. taurus), whale (Rhincodon typus), and white sharks {Carcharodon 
carcharias) in US waters (Camhi 1998). 



20 

The four major objectives or goals for the shark management plan explore all 
aspects of shark interests. The first goal is to prevent overfishing of shark 
resources. Pelagic, small coastal, and large coastal sharks are all considered over 
or fully fished in US waters (Stone et al. 1998). Overfished species are defined as 
species that have population numbers lower than the estimated maximum 
sustained yield. This means that given the best management estimates, these 
species are not able to sustain the same fishing effort and the long-term health of 
the population is uncertain. Fully fished stocks are populations that are being 
fished at the highest catch level while still allowing the population to sustain the 
same fishing effort (Stone et al. 1998). Large coastal species are considered 
overfished and are not able to produce the maximum sustainable yield to increase 
their numbers without strict quotas. Pelagic and small coastal species are 
considered fully fished and catch quotas do not exceed the populations' ability 
to stay the same or grow (Stone et al. 1998). 

The second goal of the Atlantic Shark FMP is to encourage management of 
populations throughout all their range. This is in response to the shark's highly 
migratory nature and interaction between different federal, international, and state 
fisheries (Stone et al. 1998). Many US tagged sharks have been recovered in 
South America and Europe. However, to date there is no comprehensive way to 
monitor sharks throughout their whole range. 

The third goal establishes a more effective data collection, research and 
monitoring program for each species of shark. Known as ISHARK, this data 
collection includes research cruises, a shark identification manual, nursery ground 
studies, and development of a tag database (Stone et al. 1998). This project 
received some funding before the management plan was enacted. Tagging is 



21 

now a common sight in recreational shark fishing and many laboratories and 
aquariums do outreach programs with sharks in local schools. There are several 
different databases for several species of sharks. Researchers have even attached 
video cameras to whale sharks and white sharks to get a "shark's eye view" of 
the underwater world. 

The last goal increases shark resources in the US and reduces shark waste. 
This includes the reduction of finning in the Atlantic. This goal was partially met 
in 2000, when President William Clinton signed a bill banning shark finning in all 
US waters (MCN 2001). The effort of the Atlantic Shark FMP and the 
introduction and signing of the bill greatly reduced finning in the Atlantic. This 
goal also encourages NMFS to work with fisheries to reduce shark bycatch. This 
can be done by gear restrictions, bag limits, closures, permits, and quotas (Stone et 
al. 1998). 

Although the Atlantic Shark FMP sets goals for the federal regulation of shark 
fisheries, it only goes so far. It does not regulate how sharks are fished in 
international or state waters, only how to regulate them in federal waters. 
International waters are considered over 200 miles from the coast. There are 125 
countries that fish or trade for sharks and only Canada, the United States, 
Australia, and New Zealand have implemented shark fisheries management plans 
(Camhi 1998). This means that the majority of countries do not have management 
plans for shark species. Because sharks are highly migratory and move in and out 
of boundaries, it is feasible to be "safe" in one section of waters and be caught 
while migrating to another section. This is a substantial problem for shark species 
believed to be endangered or threatened. Internationally, the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is 



22 

another way to reduce the trade and capture of specific species. CITES has 
called for a review of all information concerning the status of sharks and the 
effects of trade on them (Daves and Nammack 1998). Although no sharks have 
been listed in the CITES Appendices, the fact that a review process has been 
implemented implies that sharks are becoming a larger priority possibly because of 
a decline in population sizes of sharks. 

The protection and migratory nature of sharks becomes more of a problem at 
the State level. In the United States the 13 Atlantic States have shark regulations 
ranging from nonexistent (Louisiana) to far stricter than the FMP (Florida) (See 
Table 1). Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey have the most shark landing on the 
Atlantic coast. However, both Louisiana and New Jersey have no regulations. 

If fishermen have federal shark fishing permits, the FMP requires them to 
follow federal regulations whether in State or international waters. However, 
most state fishermen do not have federal permits and therefore are only required 
to follow state regulations. State waters are from the shore to three miles out. In 
this region, shark management is regulated by the State Regulatory Agency, 
usually a marine division of State Fish and Wildlife departments. Some states 
have cooperative agreements with NMFS to enforce federal statutes in state 
waters, but these agreements are not always enforced (Camhi 1998). Federal 
enforcement is through NMFS and state enforcement is through the state Fish 
and Wildlife. Both these agencies have a large area and a substantial numbers of 
laws to enforce, it is not possible to increase enforcement on every fishery law. 
No state has implemented dogfish regulations, and dogfish are not included in 
any management plan 



23 



STATE 


REGULATIONS: 
COMMERCIAL 
FISHING 


REGULATIONS: 
RECREATIONAL 


MAINE 


no regulations 


no regulations 


NEW HAMPSHIRE 


no regulations 


no regulations 


MASSACHUSETTS 


no regulations 


no regulations 


RHODE ISLAND 


no regulations 


no regulations 


CONNECTICUT 


no regulations 


no regulations 


NEW YORK 


some sharks-specific regs 


some shark-specific regs 


NEW JERSEY 


no regulations 


no regulations 


DELAWARE 


conforms to federal regs 


conforms to federal regs 


MARYLAND 


exceeds federal regs 


exceeds federal regs 


VIRGINIA 


some shark-specific regs 


exceeds federal regs 


NORTH CAROLINA 


exceeds federal regs 


no regulations 


SOUTH CAROLINA 


conforms to federal regs 


conforms to federal regs 


GEORGIA 


proposed shark-specific 
regs 


proposed shark-specific 
regs 


FLORIDA 


exceeds federal regs 


exceeds federal regs 


ALABAMA 


some shark- specific regs 


no regulations 


MISSISSIPPI 


some shark-specific regs 


some shark-specific regs 


LOUISIANA 


no regulations 


no regulations 


TEXAS 


some shark-specific regs 


some shark-specific regs 



From Camhi 1998. 



New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, 
Connecticut, and New Jersey) contains several of the last states to implement 
state regulations for shark fisheries. This is for two reasons. The first is that the 



24 

priority of fisheries is not on sharks but with more economically viable species- 
groundfish, tuna, swordfish, lobsters, crabs. The second reason is because sharks 
are less common in state waters and management is left to federal statutes (Camhi 
1998). In Maine, shark landings are considered moderate (between 100,000 and 
500,000 lbs/yr.), but there are no regulations for the commercial or recreational 
fisheries (Camhi 1998). 

FEDERAL MANAGEMENT-CANADA 

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans in Canada enacted the Canadian 
Atlantic Pelagic Shark Integrated Fishery Management Plan in 1997. In response 
to the rise exploitation of large pelagic sharks, this management plan provides a 
"Scientific Monitoring Fishery" where the government can receive scientific 
data on stock abundance and distribution through giving a limited number of 
shark fishing licenses (DFO 1999). The plan governs the exploitation of 
porbeagles (Lamna nasus), blues (Prionace glauca), shortfin makos {hunts 
oxyrynchus) and other sharks, and has three goals: to provide scientific basis for 
management, to control commercial and recreational shark fisheries in Atlantic 
Canada, and to increase partnerships with the industry on study and management 
of sharks (DFO 1999). Because the Canadian shark fishery management plan is 
just beginning, not much is known about each stock's history. 

To explore the relationship between management and actual take of sharks in 
the Gulf of Maine, interviews were conduced along the Maine coast. Most 
recreational shark fisheries are in southern Maine-Saco and around Portland. 
Commercial shark fishing is for dogfish, porbeagle, and mako sharks, and occurs 



25 

all along the coast. Most fishing occurs off shore, in pelagic waters. Whale 
watching occurs mostly off the central Maine coast. 

RESULTS OF INTERVIEWS 

Results were compiled using both informal and formal interview questions 
(Appendix A). Interviewees included charter boat captains (4), whale watch 
captains (3), sports fishermen (5), and local biologists (2). All individuals were 
contacted individually and either gave taped answers or handwritten answers 
(See Appendix B). Each interviewee was informed of the purpose of the project, 
its significance in COA requirements, and that they could choose to have their 
answers taped or not taped. Shark experiences ranged from seeing them from a 
distance and little to no purpose shark fishing to having a career in shark fishing 
and shark diving for fun. 

The interview sample size was lower than I expected. This was due to several 
contributing factors. First, the sample size was low because of miscommunication 
and low levels of interest by potential interviewees. It was more time intensive to 
successfully contact people and complete an interview than I initially planned. 
Many of the charter boat captains did not return emails sent or phone messages 
until the last days of interviews, although these messages were sent during the 
second week of interviews. The second reason was possibly because of the low 
interest in sharks in the Gulf of Maine. Many whale watch captains had little to 
no interaction with sharks; therefore, most information came from charter boat 
captains. Because they make their living on sharks, charter captains are more 
likely to have more information on sharks and more instances of shark 
interactions. However, the interviews did present a way of looking at the biology 



26 

and management of shark species and inferring how those species are important 
to the Maine fishing industry. 

HOW MUCH SHARK INFORMATION DO YOU RECEIVE? ARE YOU 
I JKELY TO PICK UP A SHARK ARTICLE? WATCH A SHARK TV 
PROGRAM? 

All of the charter fishermen interviewed participate in the NMFS Apex 

Predator tagging program. This program has the fishermen tag any blue shark 

caught before releasing them. When the shark is recovered, usually caught or 

killed, the fishermen who caught the shark send the tags, which include date, 

place caught, sex, and size, to NMFS. All fishermen who participate receive a 

newsletter that includes migration and population size data along with overall 

tagging information. Only one charter boat captain stated that he was a member 

of a shark research lab (Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida) (B. Garfield 

pers. comm.) and one researcher stated that he received many publications 

pertaining to the ocean itself and was likely to read any information about sharks 

in the publications (S. Katona pers. comm.), but no specific shark publications 

were mentioned by any interviewees. No whale watch captains or commercial 

fishermen mentioned belonging to a shark organization or receiving shark 

information. No one was a member of the American Elasmobranch Society or 

stated active participation in shark conservation/education. 

WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF SHARKS IN YOUR PROFESSION? HOW 
MUCH OF AN IMPACT DO THEY HAVE ON YOUR CAREER? 

For the charter boat captains interviewed, sharks are an everyday occurrence 

and have a great impact on monetary gain and publicity. If they have successive 

bad trips or years without seeing enough sharks, their business will fold and they 



27 

will lose their living. Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) 
researchers use sharks as research subjects, particularly in the summer, studying 
the eye, cartilage, and specific internal organs such as the liver (B. Kent pers. 
comm.). They interact with dogfish through catching them and as dead 
specimens. MDIBL is moving toward creating a full year supply of dogfish- 
creating a small housing pin for live individuals (B. Kent pers. comm.). All of the 
commercial fishermen and whale watch captains stated that sharks did not impact 
their career as much, and rarely if ever do they even think about sharks. 

DO YOU FISH FOR SHARKS FOR FUN? HOW? WHAT KIND? WHEN? 

Many of the charter boat captains and several whale watch captains dive with 
or fish for sharks outside of their daily jobs. In the past, local commercial 
fishermen and kids would fish for dogfish off the Bar Harbor town pier (G. Smith 
pers. comm.). The dogfish were so abundant that school groups would go down 
and use the dogfish bycatch as a tool for biology lessons: touching, dissecting, 
and exploring. Many fishermen grew out of doing this or stopped because of 
reduced catch probability. Most individuals use rod and reel when fishing for 
fun, and the most likely catch are blue and porbeagle sharks. Mako and thresher 
sharks are caught less frequently. One story I was told, a sports fishermen stated 
that a friend of his, another fishermen, believed he hooked male and female white 
sharks on the same day (R. Odlin pers. comm.). However, because white sharks 
are rare in the Gulf of Maine and rarely if ever hooked when they do appear, the 
gear (line) was most likely not able to hold the weight of the animals and quickly 
broke. Most recreational fishing uses catch and release, but several sports 
fishermen interviewed said that they take porbeagles and makos of legal size 



28 

home for food (R. Odlin pers. comm.). The researchers and one whale watch 
captain did not fish sharks for fun. 

HOW DO YOU FISH FOR SHARKS? GEAR? BOAT SIZE? CATCH AND 
RELEASE OR TAKE? 

Sports and commercial fishing for sharks uses both hook and line and 
trawling/net catches. I was told even when sharks aren't caught in some cases, 
hook and line fishing is harmful to the shark (B. Kent pers. comm.). The hook can 
catch in the eye or drag along the denticals causing scaring. If the shark is able to 
get away from the line, most of the time it takes the hook with it. This can lead to 
infections, disruption in eating, and even death. Trawling disrupts both the shark, 
its habitat, and is typically associated with a substantial bycatch for non-target 
species and debris such as crabs, snails, sea cucumbers, starfish, and rocks (B. 
Kent pers. comm.). Most of the charter fishermen interviewed chum for sharks 
and use catch, tag, and release methods for the blue sharks. If the "customer" 
wants to keep makos or porbeagles of legal size, the shark is taken. 

There are two major aspects in finding and fishing for sharks: depth and 
temperature. Most sport shark fishing doesn't start until mid to late June and 
extends through mid to late October. This is when the water in the Gulf of Maine 
is the warmest. One sports fishermen stated that in water colder than 60 degrees, 
sharks were unlikely to be seen or hooked. It is also unlikely that many sharks 
will be hooked in water less than 300 feet (D. Gittens pers. comm.). This 
statement perpetuates the idea that dogfish are in a separate category than 
"sharks." Even though they have the largest population and are found in shore, 
"sharks" are seen as being pelagic. 



29 

WHAT LAWS ARE YOU AWARE OF THAT REGULATE THE CATCHING OF 
SHARKS? 

Most of the charter captains, whale watch captains, and researchers knew that 

there were some laws regulating the take of sharks, but they were unsure or did 

not mention whether they were state or federal laws, nor did they know the exact 

legal ramifications of the laws. As previously mentioned, Maine has no state laws 

regulating the take of sharks in either the recreational fishery or the sports fishery. 

Only one interviewee discussed bag limits (R. Odlin pers. comm.) and another was 

the only one to discuss mileage in state verses federal boundaries (D. Gittens pers. 

comm.). 

WHAT TYPE OF SHARKS DO YOU SEE/ENCOUNTER MOST OFTEN? 
SCIENTIFIC NAMES/COMMON NAMES? WHERE ARE THEY FOUND? 
WHAT TIMES DURING THE SEASON? 

Sports fishermen were unanimous in stating blue sharks as the most common 

shark found in Maine waters. For commercial fishermen blue sharks were second 

only to dogfish in numbers. One whale watch captain saw thousands of dogfish 

piled on top of each other. "I've never seen anything like this!" He stated that 

it possibly had to do with mating (L. Nuesslein pers. comm.). Other sharks 

encountered, in decreasing order of frequency, included porbeagles, makos, and 

threshers, although in contrast most whale watch captains noticed basking sharks 

more often than the smaller, faster makos and porbeagles. Basking sharks are 

somewhat common during whale watch trips. All whale watch captains and 

several sports fishermen stated that they had seen basking sharks breach. Several 

believed that the breaching was done by humpback whales (Megaptera 

novaeangliae) before noticing the animal had no blow and showed gills. The 

basking sharks follow the plankton blooms. Makos usually show up in August 



30 

to mid September and are between 4 and 12 feet long, and threshers range from 3- 
10 miles from shore with schools of mackerel (B. Garfield pers. comm.). Both of 
the researchers knew the approximate time sharks began migrating north and 
they both had seen porbeagles, blue, basking, and dogfish sharks on a regular 
basis. 

ARE THERE ANY UNUSUAL TYPES OF SHARKS YOU HAVE SEEN? 

The only shark rarely mentioned were white sharks. One interviewee stated 
that white sharks follow the migrating pilot whales. But only one charter boat 
captain interviewed had seen a white shark first hand (B. Garfield pers. comm.). 
There were no distinctions between the two species of mako sharks found in the 
Gulf-shortfin and longfin-although the species were commonly seen. There was 
no mention of Greenland sharks encountered or caught. 

HAVE YOU NOTICED A DIFFERENCE IN SHARK POPULATIONS 
THROUGHOUT THE YEARS? NUMBERS? ABUNDANCE? 

Many fishermen, captains, and researchers stated that they had not noticed a 

significant difference in the majority of shark populations in they past 10 years 

and if there was a difference it was probably not significant (S. Katona pers. 

comm.; B. Garfield pers. comm.). Several reasons interviewees mentioned for the 

lack of recognition were the migratory nature of the sharks, the change of water 

temperature, improved fishing techniques, and increased fishing pressure 

elsewhere (D. Sinclair pers. comm.). One fisherman stated that the improved 

fishing techniques allowed him to see more sharks "but not because populations 

have increased. "(D. Sinclair pers. comm.). Two charter boat fishermen stated that 

the 2000 season was a "tough," "freak" year (B. Garfield pers. comm.; D. 



31 

Gittens pers. comm.). One gave examples of bad weather, unseasonably cold 
waters, and fishing pressure around the Flemish Cap. The other stated that if 
there had been several years of low numbers, it would be more likely to say there 
was a trend; however, just having one bad year gives no indication of problems. 

The largest difference all interviewees noticed is the decreased presence of 
dogfish sharks. The local, long time Mainers interviewed said that where one use 
to be able to go to the local dock and immediately catch a dogfish or two, now 
fishermen are having to travel farther out and in deeper water and only catching 
smaller individuals. 

HOW MUCH BIOLOGY DO YOU KNOW OF SHARKS? GESTATION. TIME 
YOU SEE THEM DURING THE DAY. MONTHS MOST POPULATED? 

Most charter boat and whale watch captains know the sharks' migration 

patterns and placement of different species in the water column. But, only one 

person (a researcher) interviewed discussed the gestation period, prey, or showed 

an interest in shark sensory ability or basic biology (S. Katona pers. comm.). The 

other researcher had implied knowledge because of her studies on sharks (B. 

Kent pers. comm.). Several charter fishermen mentioned that they received 

tagging information back from NMFS and they stated where some of their tags 

were retrieved-ranging from Cuba, Azores, Nova Scotia, and the Flemish Cap (D. 

Sinclair pers. comm.). All fishermen implied that the number of sharks decreased 

dramatically from early November to mid May. Porbeagles are found in catchable 

numbers from May to November, while blue sharks are here from mid June to the 

end of October. Makos are seen from mid July through mid September. 



32 

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN A SHARK ATTACK (WHETHER THE SHARK 
ATTACKED THE BOAT OR A PERSON)? HAVE YOU EVER WITNESSED A 
SHARK ATTACK? IF SO WHEN. WHERE. AND WHAT TYPE OF SHARK? 

There have been no shark attacks in Maine filed with the International Shark 

Attack File. One whale watch captain mentioned that several times he had 

stopped his boat in front of several basking sharks and they bumped the boat's 

hull (L. Nuesslein pers. comm.). One charter boat fishermen stated that he had 

seen sharks bite boats but not "attack" them (B. Garfield pers. comm.). The only 

shark "attack" story mentioned involved a family in a dinghy. The family was 

knocked overboard by a shark attacking the gunnel of the boat (S. Katona pers. 

comm.). No one was injured and several blurry photographs were taken. 

WHAT TYPE OF IMAGE DO YOU HAVE OF SHARKS? AWE. ADMIRATION. 
JAWS. SHARK WEEK. ETC? 

This question was rarely directly answered. Many fishermen seemed to enjoy 

doing their chosen jobs. Several sports fishermen also take diving trips to watch 

sharks in their "natural" habitat. One sports fishermen stated that he believed 

sharks would "probably do quite well if it weren't for fishing pressure and 

bycatch from commercial fishing." (D. Sinclair pers. comm.). And another sports 

fishermen stated that he had awe, respect, and admiration for sharks (B. Garfield 

pers. comm.). One researcher stated that of course every kid will be scared of 

sharks when they are young. "It's good sense." (S. Katona pers. comm.). But 

he went on to say that he is continually excited about new studies on sharks and 

legislation on protecting them. 



33 

DO YOU HAVE ANY SHARK STORIES. PICTURES. WHAT IS YOUR 
EARLIEST MEMORY OF SHARKS? 

The shark charter boat fishing industry didn't become popular in Maine until 

the early to mid 1990s and many of the interviewees did not fish (recreationally) 

for shark until the 1980s. Most of the sports fishermen have web sites dedicated 

to showing what they have caught and their facilities. Many of the logo's on the 

web sites show a picture of a shark body or a shark head. The shark stories 

ranged from the breaching behavior of basking sharks to the thousands of 

dogfish to personal observations. No one mentioned an early memory of sharks. 

ARE THERE ANY LEGENDS OF SHARKS IN THIS AREA? 

No shark legends were repeated for the Gulf of Maine region. One 
interviewee possessed a poem about sharks by a local man in the early 1900's 
(see Appendix C) (S. Katona pers. comm.). 

DISCUSSION OF INTERVIEW ANSWERS 

Unlike in Hawai'i, California, or Florida, sharks are not the first sea life one 
thinks of when coming to the Gulf of Maine. There are no tall tales, legends, or 
stories about the sharks that got away or the attack on the local fisherman and 
currently there is no research directed toward sharks in the Gulf. Sharks in Maine 
tend to be more of a second-hand thought or a nuisance than anything to be 
afraid of or pay a great deal of attention to. Historical pictures of sharks are rare 
and only recently, with the boom of sports fishing, have sharks been 
photographed and used as marketing tools. My personal family photo album 
contains a 1910's or 1920's photo of Mr. Gott (Mount Desert Island, Maine) and 
10 other men over a 6-8 foot mako shark (see Title Page Picture) and a few 



34 

pictures of the dorsal fins and body outlines of basking sharks also exist for 
Maine waters. Last year an article with a picture of a partially decomposed 24- 
foot basking shark, believed to be hit by a boat, found in a riverbed off the coast 
of North central Maine was published in the middle/back section of the Bangor 
Daily News (Clancy 2000). Many of the sports fishermen web sites have shark 
logos and pictures of recent catches. 

Maine's lack of interest in of sharks is also reflected in the lack of direct State- 
run management or protection for any shark species. Basking and white sharks 
are federally protected. This is a very important step in rebuilding their 
populations. Having white and basking sharks protected can also potentially 
bring in more money to boat tours and dives. Giving tourists the chance to 
possibly see the monsters of the deep is always a large draw. Many whale 
watchers enjoy seeing the large basking sharks as much as seeing the humpback 
and finback whales. For many seasoned veterans, just getting to see the dorsal 
fin of a white shark is a privilege. 

But what about the other species of sharks? What are the public's perception 
of makos, blues, porbeagles, threshers, and dogfish? This list of sharks contains 
some of the most abundant shark populations in the ocean, yet they are typically 
clumped together and labeled as just "shark" or dismissed totally and labeled as 
"'other." Now that there is an interest in sharks, the process of recognizing and 
protecting these species is beginning. Blue sharks are now regularly hooked, 
tagged, and set free. Many of the fishermen seem excited that they received 
information on where their tagged sharks were found. NMFS uses the tags to 
inform fishermen of basic biology, conservation, and education on sharks. This is 
not only a way of bringing together fishermen and scientists to cooperate, but it 



35 

also reinforces the need for comprehensive, wide-range management. Before the 
1993 Atlantic Shark FMP was implemented, sharks were not tagged as 
individuals and many fishermen did not recognize the influence of the migratory 
nature of sharks on the population. Now, it is more likely that a charter boat 
fishermen will examine a shark for tags to know how far it has traveled. 

Bycatch in Maine is still a large problem affecting shark populations, while 
boat collisions and increased boat traffic threaten the basking shark populations 
(just as they threaten large whales). The bycatch problem occurs specifically with 
gill nets and the groundfish industry. With the increased regulations including 
closures, restrictions on gill netting, and restrictions on licensing, bycatch, 
especially in regards to dogfish, will be greatly reduced. Boating, however, will 
not be phased out. Every year there are more and more boats on the water, and 
with the advent of high speed ferries such as the CAT (sailing from Bar Harbor, 
Maine to Nova Scotia twice a day in the summer season), ship strikes and 
collisions are likely to increase. Acoustic harassment devices, similar to those 
used to deter marine mammals, are available to deter sharks from the path of these 
large, fast ships. But no deterrents have been extensively tested on sharks. 

Many of the men interviewed experience sharks firsthand and on a daily 
basis. Many of them also don't notice any change in specific population 
numbers throughout their tenure experiences. Examples of quotes supporting 
these views are: "If you dive anywhere you can see blue sharks; if you chum 
enough you can see more blue sharks and a variety of porbeagle, mako, and 
thresher sharks" (R. Odlin pers. coram.). However, there is a definite distinction 
between pelagic species managed by the Atlantic Shark FMP and dogfish who 
have yet to have state or federal management plans (although their numbers were 



36 

used as data for the plan (Camhi 1998)). All parties interviewed in this study 
mention dogfish as a common sight, yet those same interviews stated that dogfish 
were not found in as abundant numbers as historically. An example of this are 
dogfish in Frenchman's Bay, Maine. In previous years (as little as 10-15 years 
ago) one could fish dogfish off the town dock or in the middle of the Bay. Now, 
it is more likely to find them 20 nautical miles out and 100 fathoms deep (B. Kent 
pers. comm. 2001). In most cases, dogfish were passed over as not "shark." One 
subject laughed when after listing five species, I supplied dogfish as an example 
(M. Brent pers. comm.). Many individuals said, "and of course dogfish," placing 
them in a section labeled other. 

Merry Camhi, in 1998's Sharks on the line , gives several suggestions on how 
Maine, as a state, can support the shark fishery. One suggestion is to adopt 
federal statutes as Maine State limits. At this point in time Maine has no permit 
for recreational shark fishing, but for commercial shark fishing only a general 
fishing license is require (Camhi 1998). By adopting the federal statutes, Maine 
would require fishermen to possess shark fishing permits, thus enforcing federal 
fishery regulations. The State government would know who was taking the 
sharks and be able to keep a closer watch on catch, take, and waste numbers. As 
a state, Maine should also have species identification information for all sharks 
caught in State waters. This will allow scientists to keep track of the number of 
individuals taken. Maine must also play a role in creating a dogfish management 
plan for New England. Without a comprehensive management plan, dogfish 
could become an endangered stock, unable to rebuild because of their long 
gestation and slow growth. 



37 

CONCLUSION 

Looking through the management plan, the biology, and the interviews one 
thing is clear: sharks are not considered a significant resource in Maine. It is true 
that there are several fishing and diving shops that cater to most shark seekers, 
and for the most part they do receive enough interest to continue opening year 
after year, but, the main fishery staples are groundfish and lobster. Because of the 
lack of species, cold waters, few sandy beaches, and shallow areas, tourists bypass 
shark seeking and instead pursue whale watching. The fact that sharks are not a 
high priority in the fishing industry and the low fishing effort has perhaps led to 
lax efforts to pass shark legislation, therefore contributing to the current over- 
exploitation. 

However, the shark species that are here do create intrigue and interest, if not 
to tourists then to the captains that guide boat tours. Whale watch captains also 
enjoy the difference a basking shark brings, or the chaos thousands of dogfish 
form. Having a variety of encounters increases knowledge and focuses interest 
on why there are fewer sharks, or why there are more sharks, or why basking 
sharks are found only at the surface, etc. These experiences allow captains and 
tourists to see that there are more organisms in the ocean than just whales and 
seals. 

Maine adopting the federal shark regulations will create a bridge that will 
allow Maine to increase catches, decrease mortality and waste, and educate the 
public about the importance of sharks and the health of the oceans. It will also 
put pressure on the federal government and state government to enforce a 
dogfish shark management plan. Sharks may not be as important to the economy 



38 



or individual livelihoods as in more southern states, but Maine still needs to create 
management plans for pelagic, large coastal, and small coastal species. 



39 



Appendix A 

Interview Questions 

*What do you do? (job description) 

*What interaction do you have with sharks? 

ie. are you likely to pick up a shark article? watch a shark TV program? 

*How much shark information do you receive? 

*What is the importance of sharks in your profession? 

ie. how much of an impact do they have on your career? 

*Do you fish for sharks for fun? 

ie. what kind? how? when? 

*How do you fish for sharks? 

ie. gear, nets, boat dimensions 

*What laws regulate the catching of sharks? 

*How do you deal with sharks when you encounter them? 

*What types of sharks do you see/encounter most often? 

ie. common names or species, where are they found? what time of year? 

*Are there any unusual types of sharks you have seen? 

*Have you noticed a difference in the shark populations through out the years? 

*Do you know the biology of sharks? 

ie. gestation? time you begin to see them in the day? months most populated? 

*Have you ever been in a shark attack? 

*What type of image do you have of sharks? 
ie. Jaws, animal planet, amazed 

*Do you have any shark stories? pictures? 

ie. what is your earliest memories of sharks? 

*Are there any legends of sharks in this area? 

*Are there any other questions or ideas important to this topic that I haven't discussed? 
Would you like to expand on any of the previous questions? 

Informal interview questions were variations off the above formal questions. If the 
interviewer felt that the interviewee had already answered a question, that formal question 
was skipped. Except for two personal conversations, all questions and answers were taped 
or handed in writing. 



38b 



WORKS CITED 



Allen, T.B. 1999. The Shark Almanac . New York: The Lyons Press. 

DFO. 1999. Canadian Atlantic Pelagic Shark Integrated Fishery Management 
Plan 1997-1999. Fisheries and Oceans, Canada, <http://dfomr.mar.dfo- 
mpo.gc.ca/fisheries/res/imp/shark_fish-e.html> 

Apollonio, S. 1979. The Gulf of Maine . Rockland, ME: Courier of Maine 
Books. 

Camhi, M. 1998. Sharks on the Line: A State -by- State Analysis of Sharks and 
Their Fisheries . Islip, NY: Living Oceans Program, National Audubon 
Society. 

Camhi, M., S. Fowler, J. Musick, A. Brautigam, and S. Fordham. 1998. Sharks and 
Their Relatives-Ecology and Conservation. IUCN/SSC Shark Specialist 
Group. IUCN, Cambridge, UK. 

Clancy, M.A. 2000. Basking shark found in Dennys River. Bangor Daily News 
October 5. 

Clifford, H.B. 1974. Charlie York: Maine Coast Fisherman . Camden, Maine: 
International Marine Publishing Company. 

Daves, N.K. and M.F. Nammack. 1998. US and International Mechanisms for 

Protecting and Managing Shark Resources. Fisheries Research. 39, 223- 
228. 

Hurley, P.C.F. 1998. A Review of the Fishery for Pelagic Sharks in Atlantic 
Canada. Fisheries Research. 39, 107-113. 

Marine Conservation News. 2001. "Clinton signs Shark Finning Bill into Law." 
Spring. 

Stone, R.B., CM. Bailey, S.A. McLaughlin, P.M. Mace, and M.B. Schulze. 1998. 
Federal Management of US Atlantic Shark Fisheries. Fisheries Research. 
39.215-221. 

Tricas, T. C, K. Deacon, P. Last, J. E. McCosker, T. I. Walker, and L. Taylor. 1997. 
Sharks and Rays: The Ultimate Guide to Underwater Predators . London: 
Harper Collins Publishers. 

Young, W.E. 1934. Shark! Shark! The Thirty-Year Odyssey of a Pioneer Shark 
Hunter. New York: Gotham House. 



40 



Appendix B 

Interview Transcripts 



Informal Interviews 

Dr. Barbara Kent— Mount Desert Biology Laboratory 
(informal) personal interview — April 10, 2001 

-use about 1000 dogfish a summer 

-hire local fishermen to catch dogfish 

-around 15 years ago it was easy to catch them in Frenchman's Bay, but now fishermen 

have to go out 20 miles and around 100 fathoms deep, now it is further and deeper out. 

-used to be in Glauster, hauled in tons upon tons. 

-one fishermen brought in mako (no size) 

-fish by trawl or gill net: trawl bad because too traumatic to shark, loss of lots of blood, 

usually gets eye (which is one thing they study) 

-gill net not much better, just want to trap in net. This year trying something new, trawl 

with thinner, smaller mesh, may not cause as much damage. 

-dogfish migrate to North and South Caroline (some to Florida) in winter months (October 

to may) and arrive here early June through September 

-throughout years simple to catch both genders, now less and less pregnant females are 

being caught, and the one's caught are smaller in size. 

-indications of over fishing 

-30 years ago, one could fish for anything and catch a dogfish, not anymore. 

-eventually going to try and keep dogfish year round, working on currents, feeding, etc 

with Woods Hole. 



Glenn Smith — lobster fishermen, neighbor 
(informal) personal interview — April 9, 2001 

-as a boy fished off town pier and caught "sand" sharks (dogfish) 

-as lobsterman not much interaction with sharks 

-big mako (800 lbs, head 55 lbs) caught on MDR, sold at what is now Bunny's (local 

restaurant) as swordfish 

-doesn't fish for shark himself but has lots of friends that do 

-gave three names: Timmy Leveck, Lenny Young, and Johnny Carter (affiliated with 

MDIBL) 



Formal Interviews 

Dr. Steve Katona — President of College of the Atlantic/whale research 
(1-interviewer; 2-interviewee) 

1: What do you do? 



41 



2: Nothing, [laughs] I'm the president of College of the Atlantic and for 20 years 
previous.. .taught biology here at the college, marine biology in particular. 

1: What interactions do you have with sharks? Are you likely to pick up a article, are you 
likely to watch a shark TV program? 

2: All those things, well when I was doing more research and teaching I would see sharks 
quite a lot, and still do in the summers when I go out. Always been interested in them and 
have always photographed them when I could. And so, I think they're terrifically 
interesting creatures and I think most people do, in this country anyway. So I've seen lots 
of different, you know, kinds of sharks, and have some stories about them and 
photographs and such. 

1: How much shark information do you receive? Are you a member of the American 
Elasmobranch Society or...? 

2: Ok, well I'm not a member of any dedicated shark society, but I get a lot of information 
from some of the books or journals that I do take. National Wildlife Federations journals, 
for instance. American Scientist, every once has an article on sharks, through the email 
and web, the Gulf of Maine whatever it is web site, from the New England Aquarium 
through Greg Stone who is director of conservation there at the aquarium, and when he 
finally gets back from Antarctica in the next month or so you really ought to interview him, 
and through Natural History magazine, National Geographic, and through my work at the 
Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute where Peter Benchely is one of my colleagues. 

1: Is there really an importance of sharks in your profession? Do they have a great impact 
on your career? 

2: Well, in an existential way, no. I suppose that the world would go on if there weren't 
any sharks or if there weren't any whales. I don't think that their demise would mean the 
end of civilization as we know it, or the end of the ecosystem. But on the other hand I 
think there real interesting and as long as they are here, they can play important roles. And 
they are only going to be just sharks there never going to learn to talk or do anything, paint, 
or do anything that some of the other animals do that endear them to us. But they are very, 
very interesting creatures. And I think they have ecological roles of course, aesthetic roles 
and also I think they've some psychological roles that are worth thinking about. You know 
they do lend an element of danger to some portions of the ocean. And I think that that is 
probably in some deep way interesting if not useful. So, What was the question again? 

1 : [Laugh] Just if they are important in what you do. 

2: Well, you know they do have some other importance that may be of more direct 
significance to people. They don't get cancer for instance, you really ought to interview 
somebody over at the Mt. Desert Island Biological Lab. At least they're said not to get 
cancer and they don't get infections very easily either even in rotten conditions. So, there's 
been some research, and there'll undoubtedly be a lot more about their immune systems, 
they also are used as a, their rectal gland is an interesting model, a good model, for cystic 
fibrosis for understanding how the salt pumps work, and the membrane pumps. The lab 
people can give you a better background on that. And also they have, their hydrodynamics 
are of interest and studied substantially and might be helpful to us in designing better boats 
or underwater vehicles of some sort. And some of them are warm blooded, so they got 
very neat physiological adaptations and they're quite diverse, I mean they are wonderful 
teaching examples. They've been very useful to me. 



42 



1: Do you or have you ever fished sharks for fun? Like sports fishing? 

2: No. I never have. I know some people do. Although I think in the US it's sort of 
transformed itself in to a catch and release fishery with tagging. But I've never done that. 
But I've seen some interesting ones that were caught, we have photos of what we think 
was the biggest mako shark ever caught... here. Greg Stone and I measured it and 
photographed it. It was caught by Gary Parsons' son a couple of years ago. And photos 
of [unintelligible] but we can talk about that later. 

1: What laws regulate the catching of sharks? Do you know any of the fishing laws? 

2: Well I don't think any of them are registered as endangered, there's maybe several that 
are threatened , but I don't think CITES governs any fishing for the sharks at this point, 
and in most of the world nothing. In the United States there probably are some 
protections, for instance there are some protected areas where sharks are perhaps not taken 
and I know National Marine Fisheries Service does have a shark recovery plan, but I'm not 
sure exactly what the legal underpinnings are, because as I say, in the Marine Mammal 
Protection Act, in CITES, underpin various marine mammal species, And I don't know 
what under [unintelligible] this, but in the United States at least does have some sharks 
recovery plans. And some of it I know is done just on the bases of population size and 
area and scarcity. That's all I know about it. 

1 : How do you deal with sharks when you have encountered them? 

2: Well we, you know, if its a dead shark photograph it, measure it, and then use that 
information in lectures one thing or another, or take a specimen possibly. If it's in the 
boat, stop and try and photograph it or film it, call attention, you know, talk to people 
about it. But that's about all, really. 

1: What types of sharks do you see or encounter most often? 

2: Basking sharks in July, perhaps especially August. Very interesting critters. Blue 
sharks and mackerel sharks, very occasionally a thresher. Dogfish sharks often or at least 
see them. Very seldom a great white, that's about it most of the time up here. Elsewhere 
half the time I can't even identify them. And six-gilled sharks in Bermuda, very 
interesting. And in that case we have tried to film them through Teddy Tucker and the 
Bermuda Institute with, you know he's worked with Eugenie Clark and Greg Stone. So 
they're very interesting, six-gilled sharks. 

1: So are there any unusual types of sharks you've seen up here? 

2: I sort of think they're all unusual. I guess the most unusual up here would be that big 
mako shark and then the stories of great white sharks which I personally haven't seen 
alive, but I've seen photographs and documentation. 

1: Have you noticed any difference, in just going out on boats, in the shark populations 
throughout the years? 

2: No I sure haven't. I don't think it would be possible for an individual to notice that 
unless they were fishing. ..I don't think that's something that any individual could notice 
because of possible changes in distribution. I don't believe in that kind of stuff. 

1 : Do you know any, a lot of stuff about the biology of sharks? Like what time to see 
them in the day, the months that it's the most populated? 



43 



2: I only know that about basking sharks, and I only know that for here and I guess also 
for dogfish sharks. None of the sharks are here in the winter. I don't know why that is. I 
guess it's because of the prey populations. They can certainly survive cold water. But 
they don't, you just don't find them in the winter. But the basking sharks are very closely 
tied to water of about 14 degrees Centigrade or more. When that water comes in then you 
see basking sharks and at the same time you see ocean sunfish, white sided dolphins, and 
occasional pilot whales, and you know it all comes at once. I mean I know about the 
migration cycles of the dogfish shark and I think the others, the same thing the blue and the 
mako tend to come in when the waters warmer like 12, 13, 14 degrees. 

1: Have you ever been in a shark attack? 

2: No. I've read a lot about them I know some about them. But I've never been in one, 
don't intend to, if possible. 

1: You talk a little about your own image. Is there anything else? Image of sharks. Some 
people have images of Jaws or they only see them on Animal Planet where their like really 
amazed. 

2: Well I think most people start out being afraid of them. With pretty good reason in one 
since. I know attacks are very rare. It's more dangerous to lightening or bees, whatever. 
None the less, they are capable of hurting a person and any two year old is going to be 
afraid of one just like she'd be afraid of a bear or something. So it's good sense. 

1: Do you have any shark stories, most memorable memories of sharks, pictures? 

2: I've got lots of pictures, there often of dead sharks or parts of them that I use to show 
people how they work like the Ampullae of Lorenzini or the gill rakers or whatever it is. 
And then also pictures of a shark fisheries in Melendie [sp?] on the coast of Kenya. Where 
they were just fishing for fins, maybe some meat but I don't think so, fins anyway. And 
pictures from Hong Kong of the dried fins, and so forth. But do I have any particularly 
interesting stories of sharks? Well I like watching basking sharks. They're pretty shy and 
they tend to get reported sometimes as sea monsters and sometimes I've watched them, 
they feed in circles sometimes a bunch of them go around in a circle or at least in a small 
area probably feeding on a very thick groups of copepods, school of copepods or 
something. And it's interesting to watch, but it's not as if they, well they breach 
sometimes, but they don't do anything in the way of great stories for me. But I know of 
some stories. One story that's pretty interesting, it happened across the bay, in I guess it 
was Steuben or Senerto [sp?], or around there, I have some where the documentation from 
the news paper. I think it was the family of Peter Chermif [sp?], I think the architect, 
actually who built the aquarium. I believe this is correct. He and his family were about to 
go for a sail and they went out and got on the sail boat. And I think his wife as I recall, 
wanted to take a picture of the kids or maybe they wanted to take a picture of the sail boat. 
Anyway they got in the dinging, and the dinging was some little distance away from the 
boat and all of a sudden a shark came up and took a bite out of the gunnel and was, 
practically tipped the thing over. And the wife was actually photographing the kids, that's 
it, at the time so she actually has photographs of, not very good ones but of the animal and 
what happened. Mercifully everyone got back on board. And then I have heard of another 
attack and I think they are different but they could be the same of going over the bar at Bass 
Harbor. But those are the only two shark attack stories that I know up here. Neither 
involved injury but both involved a shark taking a crack at a little boat for who knows what 
reason. I'm sure they get confused. And you know I've eaten shark, and every summer 
some fisherman will catch one or couple. And they'll be served, you'll see them even at 



44 



Don's, but at the fish markets and its ok. It's pretty good. But I think I had sharks fin 
soup once, which was good, I mean I, it was a long time ago. I wouldn't eat it now and I 
don't think it's a good way to treat a shark. I mean I wouldn't mind if it was a managed 
fishery, if it was like any other fishery and if the population was healthy and the whole fish 
was used and not just treated the way they treat the sharks. And then I think Greenland 
sharks are particularly interesting, because I used to study copepods and I think that the 
copepods that get on the eyes are quite remarkable. And I would like to know what was 
going on in that parasitism or symbiosis, I don't think people really know. It's quite 
peculiar. So there's a lot to learn about them and I think a lot of, oh what would you call it, 
there are going to be a lot of scientifically interesting stories but not the kind of stories, but 
not the kinds of stories, I don't think, that you have with dolphins in which there really 
some kind of interactions that are clearly on a conscious level. You just don't hear about 
that with sharks. And I don't think their there. 

1: Kind of along that line, are there any big shark legends around? Specifically like in the 
Gulf...? 

2: Well there a lot of ...like Moby Dick, that kind of thing? 

1: Yes, like Jaws. 

2: No. Jaws was really the one I'm aware with. And I think, you know Peter is a little 
chagrined about the whole thing and is doing his best to work for shark conservation. I did 
come up on a poem the other day. I found a collection of Maine sort of doggerel poems 
written from I think around 1902, really interesting stuff by a guy I hadn't heard of. 
Found it in a used book shop. And as I was going through it there was a very nice poem 
about a shark that actually a real friendly poem about a shark who the crew catches and 
mistreats and they release and it turns out he becomes a friend to the boat. And so I sent it 
to Peter because it was so unusual. And so if you'd like I'll give you a copy of it. You 
don't hardly ever see poetry about sharks especially poetry in which the shark is a friend. 

1: Yes. That would be really helpful. 

2: Now here is one thing I've forgot. There has always been a legend about the thresher 
and the whale. And I don't know if you've ever come across that. We do have some, you 
should look in the article file in Allied Whale, and just look under sharks and look under 
thresher. And you'll find it and Judy Perkins and Hal Whitehead wrote a summery of what 
they thought was going on with that . The legend has it that whales, thresher sharks and 
whales are fighting, that's what the fishery people have said that it's a thresher, but they 
don't think it is, I don't think it is. I think what it is is either possibly humpback whales 
cavorting and their long flipper looks like a thresher fin, or tail fin. Or another possibility 
is, um, they had some other possibility, I don't know. But there's no reason that a 
thresher and a whale ever. Oh I know it could be killer whales, maybe. So I don't think 
anybody knows, but that's an interesting track that you might look at. But I'm not aware 
of any sharks that have been either great heroes or great villains as individuals, in the same 
way that whales have been. You know there all kinds of individual whale stories, but other 
than Jaws, I just I'm not aware of them. Although, I mean it is true that on several 
occasions in Australia and other places there's been the suspicion that a couple of attacks 
were linked to one shark. And in several cases they have found parts of different people in 
a shark. You know whether that's like in lions one becomes a man eater. I wouldn't 
surprise me, I don't see why they wouldn't although people aren't notoriously good 
sources of nutrition is the problem, but sharks aren't notoriously picky either. As you well 
know. 



45 



1: Yes. Are there any other questions or ideas that you think are important to the oral 
history of shark up here? Or would you like to expand on any of the other questions? 

2: Well I sort of think that sharks are, well in one since they're sort of like bats. That there 
lives are conducted according to a for the most part sensory information that we don't have. 
That's really different than the way we orient ourselves, and so that's quite interesting. 
And then one of the things we're thinking about is to maybe doing a museum for people 
who either are visually impaired or acousticly impaired but it's also for people who have all 
their senses. In which you would have the opportunity, even if you are fully endowed, to, 
you know, see the world as if you weren't or to see the world acousticly or through touch 
or smell, whatever. And I think sharks could be useful in that somehow, maybe there's a 
way to do a demonstration on how you sense food electricly or something like that, or by 
vibrations. So they do all that stuff, I don't know if they do anything quite as useful as 
bats do. I suppose it's possible that corpses of everything would pile up if it weren't for 
the sharks eating them, but my guess is somebody else would take care of them, crabs or 
something. So, I'm not aware of any commensalism, you know anything that would 
disappear if the sharks disappear, except for that Greenland copepod. But there probably 
are some, so you know they don't pollinate or anything like bats do or whatever. But still 
as I say just as.. .they are pretty remarkable machines even if they're not terrifically smart, 
they probably are smarter than we give them credit for. And they do have a, I don't know 
what they remember or whatever kind of conscious they may have and I don't know how 
were going to find out to tell you the truth, but their very neat. 

1: Ok. Well thank you. 

2: One thing I think that, one of the things that's real interesting to people. You know the 
problem with sharks is that they're so at least the carcharian and that group are so horrific 
looking you know with all, especially when you get into tiger sharks and stuff like that. 
They just look mean, and so they've been used for in the B-51's the airplanes, some boats 
too that they paint those jaws on the side and I think that gives the person whose flying the 
airplane or whatever a sense of some macho bravado which is probably helpful in battle 
and all that but if you ask people probably what in a shark they think of they think of jaws 
or teeth you know, and some of the teeth, those fossil teeth from megacarcharidon, are 
truly amazing. You know they're bigger than your tape recorder. And I saw some just the 
other day in a shop in New Mexico and you know that must of been a hell of an animal. 
But it's sort of like on the order of dinosaurs but probably not quite as smart as some of the 
dinosaurs were. But maybe somewhere out there there's a kind of shark that's smarter 
than all the other sharks, wouldn't surprise me. So I guess that's the way I see them. I 
like them as examples of adaptation of different kinds whether it's swimming, or warm 
bloodedness or um, you know morphologically, hydrodynamically, or electricly or 
whatever. I just think they're wonderful examples of biological adaptiveness. But and I 
guess it's kind of a surprising thing that there are stuffed animals, you know there are 
stuffed sharks that people have. But I doubt you'll ever see an adopt a shark in the same 
way that you do see adopt other animals just because I don't see any indication of 
individuality I'm sure there is to some extent but not the way you see it in the mammals and 
even the birds and for that matter I suppose some reptiles, these guys, I'm not sure that 
there are any of them that have the higher brain portions that bring that kind of associative 
cognition but maybe I'm wrong. 

[interview questions stopped here. Rest of tape discusses non-interview topics, see tape 
#1.1 



46 



Andrew Peterson—Captain of Indigo, former whale watch captain 
(1-interviewer; 2-interviewee) Tape #1. 

2: David caught that shark. According to Greg it was the world record. Greg's the type to 
know about that kind of stuff. 

1: And he lives up here on the island? 

2: Greg, no. He lives down in Boston. Works for New England Aquarium. And he 
comes up here every summer to teach the whales course for Ted's summer program. 

1: So you really don't have much yourself, interaction with sharks? 

2: No. I've seen, you know, going out and watching whales and I see the occasional 
basking shark, whale shark. Um. One thing, I've notice as you go east from here, that I 
haven't ever noticed among sharks down in this neck of the woods, is that they breach. 

1: Yea. I've actually heard some things about basking's breaching. 

2: We went to Grand Manan once with a film crew to film some of the whale activity out 
there and we saw this one thing that we thought was a whale and it was breaching. And it 
kept trying to track it down and identify it. But it wasn't blowing. And eventually we 
realized that it wasn't blowing because it had gills. But, from a distance it looked all the 
world like a small humpback breaching. Got a little closer to it, we realized that it was a 
basing shark. Yea I haven't really had any personal experience with them. I don't fish for 
them deliberately or accidentally. 

1: My neighbor, he grew up here and he is like "well when I was a boy, I used to go off 
the town dock and fish those sand sharks, and get them out." Just fish off the dock and 
they were right there. But people don't do that much, now, any more. 

2: Nope. MDI Bio lab does all that fishing for dogfish. I guess even the dogfish stocks 
aren't even what they use to be. 

1: Do you know a lot about the laws and licensing and stuff for shark fishing? 

2: I don't know a thing about it. 

1: Ok. That's just one thing that I'm trying to see is whether people actually know what 
laws are actually out there. 

2: Yea. I think I would trouble myself to learn more about it if I were going to fish for 
them, but I don't. But I don't have any intention of going to fishing for sharks so I haven't 
been worried too much about the law surrounding the fishery. If you find out more I 
would love to hear what you find out. 

1: I'm going through management plans right now and then doing the interviews. I'll find 
out a whole bunch. I have this feeling. Well that's great. And I'll definitely get Greg's 
stuff from Jill. Thanks for talking to me. If you think of anything else please just email 
me. 

2: Yea no problem. 



47 



Capt. Dave Gittens— Fishtail Charters 

York, Maine 

(1-interviewer; 2-interviewee) Tape #1 

1: My basic interest is just in sharks in the Gulf of Maine and what types are out there and 
what types are most common and that type of thing. What is the exact interaction that you 
have with sharks? 

2: ...fly fishing for them... chum and it's quite easy to hook them. Sometimes it takes a 
little as 20 minutes to get then to the boat, sometimes it take several hours to get them up 
there. But we don't usually do it until the first of August and it's generally good into the 
middle/last of September. Mostly dependent on the water temperature. The other big 
issue is the depth. You need at least 300 feet of water typically to have good shark fishing. 
The species are mostly blue sharks, there are some makos around, but it's usually blue 
sharks that we find. I don't know what else to tell you. 

1: How much shark information do you receive? Do you receive newsletters, and stuff 
like that or is it just information from what you fish? 

2: Well I do get a, I do some tagging, too. We never keep these sharks. We just bring 
them up and cut them loose, sometimes I tag them. So I do get a publication from I think 
it's National Marine Fisheries, from the tagging data that I send them, they send me an 
annual publication that sort of tells you about their migration habits, and health of the stock 
things. 

1: Do you fish for sharks for fun when your not working on you boat? 

2: Yes. 

1: What type of sharks do you fish for and when? 

2: Well as I said before, usually they're blue sharks, you might get porbeagles, or 
threshers. But usually they're blue sharks. The size ranges anywhere from 4-10 or 12 
feet. Occasionally there will be a mako show up. I've never caught one, I believe we've 
seen them. We've seen some big sharks that we think were makos because of the behavior 
of the other blue sharks in the area. But we've never hooked one. But those are your most 
typical species your going to find. And as I said it's mostly dependent on the water 
temperature. We'd like to see mid to high 60s on the surface of the water. You know you 
may have to go out there with 60-62 degree water. You might get them up but below that, 
temperature colder than that I kind of doubt it. We've not had good luck when the 
temperature's are cold. And usually this occurs between the first of august and the end of 
September. 

1: Are there any unusual types of sharks you've seen in the waters? 

2: No. 

1 : Ok. So its mostly j ust blues and makos . . . ? 

2: Porbeagles. 

1: Porbeagles and dogfish. Have you noticed any difference in the populations over the 
years? 



48 



2: Well last year was terrible. We had an awful season. And I don't know, it that was, 
what that was due to. The striped bass fishing was terrible last year too. It could just be an 
off year. If we'd had a string of years back to back that maybe we were looking at a trend. 
But it's difficult to say. 

1: So last year was just like a freak year? 

2: Yea it was awful. 

1: Do you have any sharks stories or legends up here in Maine? 

2: None that I'm aware of. I've only been doing this for three or four years, the shark 
fishing, so. I'm sorry I don't have anything to share with you for shark stories. 

1: No that's fine. It's great that you took the time to talk to me. That's pretty much all I 
had questions on. 

2: I wish I could tell you more. It's a pretty simple and basic fishery. Other than the fact 
that you require around 300 feet of water and warm water temperatures, there's not a lot to 
it. 

1: Do you usually fish in the state waters or federal waters? 

2: I fish from 15 to 30 miles off shore. And actually I'm not even sure if that's even in the 
State waters. I think State waters are what, 3 miles off shore? 

1: Yea. I think its like 3 to 10... I don't know. 

2: Well beyond Boon Island. 

1: Ok. Well thank you for talking to me. 

2: Well your welcome. . .Good luck to you. 



Capt. Larry Nuesslein-Friendship Five/Bar Harbor Whale Watch, Hinkleys Boat Yard 
Bar Harbor / Southwest Harbor, Maine 
(1-interviewer; 2-interviewee) Tape #2 

2: . . .1 know there are other sharks out there, but they don't seem to come to the surface as 
much I know there are thresher sharks around and makos. But I've never seen one of 
those at the surface. 

1: Do you ever fish for them for fun? 

2: I use to when I first started working up here. We had a deep sea fishing boat that went 
out from our dock and that was in 1989, 1 was working on that and mostly we use to catch 
dogfish shark all the time. But then I guess they started, that's all we use to catch, that and 
maybe a couple sculpin. 

1: Yea, was that in the bay or farther out? 



49 



2: Out. Out past the lighthouse a couple of miles. Out that way. Then I guess commercial 
fishermen started fishing for them. And I guess you cant hardly catch a dogfish shark 
anymore. 

1: Yea that's what I've heard. Do you know the fishing laws, the shark fishing laws? 

2: No I don't. Because I don't fish. We just caught dogfish and we wouldn't keep them 
we'd just throw them back over because people don't like to eat them, so we'd just toss 
them right back. 

1: Have you heard any legends or tales true or not of sharks up here? 

2: Nothing beyond what I see with my own eyes and other fishermen. You know we see 
the basking sharks often. We've seen them breach sometimes, too. They'll jump right out 
of the water, which is kind if unusual. 

1: Where's the most likely place you'll see basking sharks? By MDR? Out by George's 
Bank? 

2: We don't go out that far, out to the Rock, pretty much you draw a line right up the gulf 
of Maine another 20 miles, that whole area is where we go whale watching and see the 
sharks, basking sharks. And we only get the blue sharks when, I think sometimes you get 
some gulf stream water coming into the Gulf of Maine you can kind of see a color 
difference in the water, and I think it's a little warmer, and that's when you see them, at the 
surface. 

1: Have you noticed any change in behavior of the sharks, like where they are, whether 
that's changed over the past 10 . . .? 

2: No. Because we usually go to the same areas, and I see the sharks there pretty 
consistently every summer. One of the most unusual things I've seen with sharks is 
probably a couple thousand dogfish sharks at the surface and they're all just swimming 
around in a big circle. I think it must have been some sort of mating kind of thing but 
they're just all over the place at the surface in this big patch just withering over top of each 
other, swimming around. That was pretty cool. I'd never seen that before. 

1: Like how many years ago was that? 

2: It was maybe 3 years ago. 

1: I've never hear of that before. Because usually sharks don't congregate. 

2: Right. I was like 'This is so unusual we never see this!" All the passengers were like 
"Yea, Yea, so what. Where are the whales?" I see whales everyday. I've never seen 
anything like this. 

1: Exactly. Do you have any, what do you think of sharks? Do you see them in certain 
images or genera? 

2: I think in the Gulf of Maine it's pretty benign with the sharks they aren't really here 
attacking people or whatever. They're looking for food or minding their own business, 
don't interfere with anything I do. 



50 



1: Do you have any, do you know of anybody that's had more interaction or could 
actually...? 

2: I know people that go tuna fishing and catch sharks too. Did you ever talk to, one of 
the lobstermen downtown, his son tuna fishes and shark fishes, sometimes. He's caught a 
thresher and usually catches makos every summer he'd be a good person if you want to 
talk about sharks. 

1: He's up here in Southwest? 

2: No he's in Bar Harbor. Parsons. 

1: Gary Parsons? 

2: Yep. His son is the one you'll want to talk to cause he's the one that does all the shark 
fishing he has some good shark stories, if that's what your interested in. 

1: That is definitely what I'm interested in. Is there anything else along this general that 
you can think of that . . .? [continues on with unrelated questions (see tape)] 

2: That's all we use to catch. Some times we'd catch 1/2 a cod fish because they'd 
[dogfish] eat them on the way up. But, I mean the basking sharks are out there. Certainly 
the biggest shark we see, and there kind of clueless. I mean sometimes we will just stop in 
front of them and have one run right into the side of the boat. I don't know if he can't see 
us or half a sleep, but he'll just run right in. 

1: Well I think that was it. Thanks for talking to me. 



Mark Brent— owner Bar Harbor Whale Watch; Capt. of several boats 

Bar Harbor, Maine 

(1-interviewer; 2-interviewee) Tape #2 

1: I am looking at sharks in the Gulf. And my project deals a lot with the history and what 
species are are out there and what species are commonly seen, and that type of thing. 

2: Ok. Let me tell you what I've seen. Been here 13 years, whale watching. Any where 
from in the Bay to 50 miles off shore. All the way up to Bay of Fundy, all the way down 
to Matendicus [sp?]. Excuse me one second.... [interruption in interview, but tape stayed 
on] So, I'm sorry, so in the 13 years that I've been here the only sharks I've ever seen 
were threshers, porbeagles— and the porbeagles I saw were ones that were caught, here. 
And the porbeagles different than a mako, they call it a mackerel shark, it's more cold 
water, and blue sharks. And dogfish, but, [laughs] yea they're still a shark. 

1 : There so common . . . 

2: Not no more. And blue sharks, we see a lot of those sharks, a lot. July and August, 
September, the cold water warms up. But that's the only sharks I've ever seen here. 

1: Ok. Do you see them. ..like, how do you see them? 

2: The porbeagles, fishermen have caught them, or tuna fishermen have caught them off 
shore. 



51 



1 : Any in the Bay? 

2: Yea, John Carter caught one in a net, must be 10 years ago. I don't know, 10 years, 8 
years ago. Right behind Bald Rock over there. That was about 500 lbs. Besides that no 
sharks in the bay. And everything else off shore. Talking to fishermen, and seeing 
threshers because you can tell by their tail. And blue sharks because you can see them 
swimming on top. 

1: Yea. Do you, are you interested in sharks in anyway? personally? professionally? 

2: I've caught a lot of them. 

1: Just catching them, and stuff like that? 

2: And then also, obviously, basking sharks, we see a lot of those too. 

1: Are those mostly out, off shore? 

2: Always off shore. I've never seen one in the Bay. The closest I have seen a basing 
shark I think was Little Duck and Great Duck, which is about 14 miles out, that's the 
closest. And obviously we see them on top also, because they're plankton, they eat the 
plankton and so forth. But we've never bothered, they wouldn't bother anything, but. 

1: Do, are like, whale watchers excited when they see the sharks or are they just kind of 
like "No, we want to see whales?" 

2: They're very excited when we see a basing shark. Because of the size of the sharks. 
As far as the blue sharks go, I mean, by the time I realize what it is and identify it, people 
have a tough time seeing it. Because they're not going to stick around. Once and a while 
they get to see them, once and a while they get a picture, [pointed out basking shark 
photos on wall] 

1: Nice. 

2: We see Mola Mola's out there, sometimes a couple of turtles. But your into sharks. 

1: I am so into sharks. Do you know of any great legends of sharks in the area? 

2: Not in this area. 

1: Not in this area? 

2: Nope. 

1: I know down south there are a whole bunch, but I'm interested in this area. 

2: Yep. I'm trying to, I don't know what kind of information I can give you. 

1: No. This is great. Because I just need, whether people do have legends, or whether 
there is a lot of information, just what type of sharks are commonly seen, so. 

2: Those are the only kinds I've seen. I don't think there's any else, I don't think there's 
any else up here, but there could be, but. 



52 



1: I think that was it. I told you it' d be short. 

2: Like I said, I don't know what I can give you, but I'll give you whatever I can. 

1: Do you know of any attacks that have happened up here? I know they attack boats 
sometimes. 

2: I've never heard of any attacks. And from talking to all the fishermen, and stuff like 
that. You know a lot of fishermen have caught them in nets, and so forth like that, through 
gill netting and all. But, no. They use to catch a lot of threshers, they really do. Well not 
a lot, but which I was surprised to see that they were this far north. 

1: In the bay? 

2: No. Offshore. 

1: Offshore. In what type of gear? 

2: Gill netting. 

1: Gill nets, mostly. 

2: And then when the fishermen, tuna fish start, they get lucky and catch a few every now 
and then. 

1: On the long lines? 

2: Yea, well not long lines, because they're rod and reel fishermen. 

1: Oh. Yes, yea. See, the more interviews I get the better off that is. 

2: Talk to John Carter. He owns the Penelope Anne. It's a red boat. He must be out 
fishing. In the morning or the afternoon, they come in a dock their boats, because he's 
caught that one, maybe he's caught 10 others. Because he use to catch sharks for the bio 
lab. I mean he hasn't done it in about 6 years some body else does it across the bay. 

1: Yea. They're having a new guy do it this year, I don't know who. 

2: Another new guy or same guy as last . . .? 

1: I think it's a new guy. I think it's a brand new guy. And he's here in Bar Harbor? 

2: John Carter? Yep. The name of the boat is the Penelope Anne. He's out. I don't see 
the boat out there. So, he's out there somewhere floating around the bay. 

1: [laughing] Yea, I hear lobster starting. 

2: Yep, it's that time of the year. 

1: Oh, yes. Ok that's great. 

2: Maybe he knows some of the stories. I've only been here 13 years, some of these 
guys been here all their lives so. . . 



53 



1: Yea, my neighbor's like "yea, I use to go off the dock and fish for dogfish. Just bring 
them up all the time. But now nobody really ever does that anymore." And there aren't 
any anymore. 

2: Can't do that. Sure. Limit [?] on them too. That's because they became a market. 
Once there's a market on something, that's the end of it. 

1: Then they go away. 

2: Either they go away or they go extinct. 

1: That's true. That's true. 

2: You know, cause we stopped the migrating path they take. 

1 : Ok. If you have any other names or things. . .? 

2: He's the one I would put you into. He, like I say he's a fisherman, so he can give you 
anything you need to know. And he's a nice guy too so I'm sure he'd be more than happy 
to help you. 

1: Ok. Great Thank you. 

2: You're welcome. 



Capt. Rob. Odlin— Maine Fishing and Diving Charters 

S. Portland, Maine 

(1-interviewer; 2-interviewee) Tape#l 

1: What interaction do you have with sharks? Like what do you do? 

2: Well. I operate a charter boat service out of South Portland. And I fish for shark, also 
groundfish, tuna, striped bass, blue fish, mackerel. So basically all the pelagic fish, all the 
bottom fish that are out there that are worth eating, or worth fishing for as in you know for 
sport, give you a fight. I do get a lot of calls for shark div... shark fishing. I also do shark 
diving. I have a cage that I designed and had a welder friend of my built. So you can 
actually, I'm a scuba instructor so I can take you out and teach you how to dive, put you in 
the cage, and we chum the sharks up. We take ground up herring, ground up, any kind of 
forage fish, mackerel, whatever is around, and you can actually buy it already frozen in a 5 
gallon pail as ground up. It's called "shark chum" or just "chum" and it's all just ground 
up herring bits or what's left over from processing sardines. And we throw that in the 
water and it thaws out, and um kind of We set up a chum slick. And lure the sharks into 
the slick. And if you're fishing for them, you put a baited hook out there. If you're not 
fishing for them, if your shark diving, you just take pictures and it's really fun. 

1: What type of sharks do you see both in diving and in hook and line? 

2: Most predominantly we see blue sharks ranging from 5 to 8 feet average lengths, but 
I've seen to 12 feet and they're the most common. You know and it's not uncommon to 
see 20 in a day. Um. Years ago you'd even see more than that. Lately it's been a little bit 
cooler water temperature. The next most common would probably be the porbeagle shark. 



54 



Also called a mackerel shark. It's in the mako family. It's also called a "fake-o" or a "fake 
mako." It very closely resembles and is related to a mako shark. And I thing third most 
common shark would probably be a mako or a lot of thresher sharks, The ones with the 
big fins. And at certain times of the year we see a lot of basking sharks on the surface. 
Whether they're migrating or breeding I'm not sure, but you can go out and see 5 or 6 fins 
at one time if it's a clear, calm day and you can see a long way you'll just see these big old 
fins just sticking up out of the horizon. You can cruise right up to them, usually get pretty 
close, almost enough to touch them then they take off. They're just the plankton eaters, 
you know, they swim with their mouth wide open. They've come along side, up to the 
cage out of curiosity. Um. Cause, you know they're plankton eaters, and we're 
chumming with meat and nothing there for them so they just were curious. One of them 
cruised right up to the cage. Didn't have my camera though. 

1: [laugh] Do you have any unusual sharks? Like do you see whites, Greenlands, or 
anything like that? 

2: No. But, usually once a year or sometimes throughout the summer you hear of a white 
shark getting hooked. Nobody ever lands them, but they might get hooked often because 
they're, nobody's really rigging up with heavy enough tackle to land a white. Either blue 
fin tuna fishing or shark fishing. So accidentally sometimes, I would assume whites get 
hooked. Greenland sharks I've never heard of them like that. I don't know if they come 
this far south or not. Generally most people fish I would say from Segwin [sp?] Island off 
shore from Booth Bay, maybe 10-15 miles South. Or it's like New Hampshire boarder, 
Jeffrey's Bank, Jeffrey's Ledge, Plats Bank. Those areas are pretty common for bluefin 
tuna or shark. You know, basically a lot of pelagic activity, a lot of bait. So therefore a lot 
of predators. Can you hold on a second, my dogs loosing it. 

1: Yea. [stopped tape till return] When your not fishing on your boat, do you fish for 
sharks for fun? 

2: Um. Sometimes. Yea, I've taken out my friends before. But most of the time I'm 
taking charters out. Sometimes when we're shark diving for fun, at the end of the day, 
maybe we'll hook a couple, just for the hell of it. We always release the blue sharks, and 
mako, thresher, porbeagle. They're good to eat, so if they're over 50, lets see, 48 inches, 
you can boat one. One per boat, one shark daily bag limit as long as it's over 5 feet. 

1: So you have a federal permit? 

2: No. No federal permit. 

1: Do you know of any like unusually stories about sharks in the Gulf? 

2: A friend of mine thought, he said he hooked a male and a female white shark 10-12 foot 
range the same day, about 5 years ago. As far as unusual. . .once and a while when I'm in 
the cage starving the sharks, generally they're pretty non aggressive and sort of slow 
moving, and taking their time. And they'll come up to a piece of bait and sometimes they 
won't hit it right away. They'll mouth it and swim away and come back, mouth it again 
and swim away before they take it. Other times there's a shark that has like an attitude and 
he'll just snap at anything that moves, bounce off the cage, slam into the cage. And I 
almost think that he's been caught once or twice then released or he's been sick or injured 
or something. Because they have like a faded eye, or a glazed over look in their eye, 
almost opaque look in their eye. So perhaps he was injured or released . Sometimes when 
people catch them they don't snip the leader off. They par. . .you know if it a tuna 
fishermen sometimes the leader will cut off somehow, and leave a little trailer, little leader 



55 



hanging from his mouth and that will sometimes hook onto things. And, if the hook 
doesn't rot out of his jaw soon you know it could end up killing him. Slowing them down 
so they can't feed right. 

1: Right. Do you do any tagging for them? 

2: Yea. Blue sharks mostly. Like I said, we release all of the blues unharmed and then 
sometimes we'll tag them too. I belong to the tagging program for National Marine 
Fisheries. Tag them, and write down their sex, our location, their approximate size, then 
send the tag, send the hard copy in to NMFS tagging program and then if somebody 
catches that shark they'll hopefully retrieve the tag, send the data in from where they caught 
it, again-the date, and size. 

1: Do you receive any other shark information, any other newsletters? 

2: I have a couple of friends in the shark fishing and diving business, and we give each 
other ideas and stuff. Both locally and globally. I have a friend in South Africa who does 
shark diving. He's got an operation down in the Bahamas and in South Africa. 

1: Well. I think that was it. [rest of conversation not important to project see tape #2] 
Thank you. 

2: Your welcome. Bye. 



Capt. Ben Garfield— Go Fish! Charters 

Portland, Maine 

Emailed questions and answered in handwritten note 

1) Charter boat capt. and owner, S. Portland, operate June 1-Oct 1. Stripers-groundfish- 
sharks 

2) Interaction occurs during shark trips mostly blue sharks, occasionally porbeagles, 
makos, threshers, and even great whites (once) 

3) I read a lot, am a member of Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota [Florida] and am an active 
tagger in the NMFS tagging program out of the Narragansett, Rhode Island Laboratory. 
And constantly reading anything about sharks. 

4) Sharks are important to sport fishing charters in the Gulf of Maine in the summer. I 
target them but if it is slow fishing I can redirect effort towards cod, haddock, stripers, 
ect... 

5) Yes, on my days off I fish for fun for sharks (catch and release) 

6) Fishing for sharks is a drift fishery. You go out deep enough and drift and chum and 
wait. I do rod and real from mid June through Oct. 1. The blue sharks we tag and release 
and if we catch a mako or porbeagle and the customer wants to keep it (and it's legal size) 
then we take it. 

7) Mostly federal. You can get a copy of the Federal Shark Management Program from 
NMFS tarzeweel [sp?] drive, Narragansett, RI. 



56 



8) -mostly blue sharks 

-makos in August to mid Sept. (warm water) 

-porbeagles pups 30-36" near shore 110'-2107bigger ones 250'-300' 

-white sharks if any pilot whales migrate through 

-threshers 3-10 miles from shore on schools of mackerel 

-spiny dogfish are too frequent to mention 

9) I have seen only 1 white but there are plenty of basking sharks on plankton blooms 

10) 2000 was a tough year on blue sharks because of a cold year and bad weather. I had 
a large # of shark tag returns from 1999 from the Flemish Cap so I worry that fishing 
pressure there is trickling down. 

11) A lot! There patterns in the Gulf of Maine are very established and follow the 
temperature of the water, the migration of sea mammals and the movement of the schools 
of mackerel and herring. Porbeagles in catchable #s from May-Nov. Blue sharks from 
mid June-end of October. Makos from mid July through mid Sept. White whenever the 
whales are here. 

12) No. I have seen sharks bite boats but not attack them. 

13) Respect, awe, admiration. 

14) Sharks stir deep emotions. For Maine related shark stories contact the Island Journal. 
They ran an article on white sharks feeding on chicken farm waste off Rockland or 
Rockport, Maine. The article was written on mid 80's or mid 90's. 

15) No 

16) No. For state record rod and reel sharks call Saco Bay Tackle 207 284-4453. 



David Sinclare-Captain, Sea Ventures Charters 
Emailed questions and emailed answeres 

1) I own and operate Sea Ventures Charters which is a fishing/diving/ sightseeing business 
out of Port Clyde, ME 

2) A significant portion of our business involves fishing for sharks as well as shark cage 
trips with divers 

3)1 normally take notice of articles and programs related to sharks, especially if they were 
written about us!! 

4) Sharks have been quite important to our business. We were the first in Maine to start 
participating in the NMFS Apex Preditor tagging program which tags sharks for research. 
We are also well-recognized for our shark cage trips. 

5) We take recreational fishermen out to fish for all species of sharks. We fish using 
rod&reel during July and August. 

6) We operate a 38ft charter boat and we usually chum sharks to the boat. We have 
occassionally caught Makos and Thresher Sharks while trolling for Tuna. 



57 



7) Both federal and state regs apply to the retention of sharks. 

8) The most common sharks here are Blue Sharks. Occassionally we see Makos, 
Porbeagles, Threshers, and Basking sharks as well as Dogfish. We see sharks here 
offshore from June thru October. 

9) see #8 

10) Shark populations are hard to judge because they are highly migratory and don't stay in 
one area very long. They are very sensitive to changes in water temp. Our techniques have 
improved over the years so we are seeing more sharks but not because populations have 
increased. 

11) Much has been learned about shark migratory patterns and growth rates thru the Apex 
Preditor Program. Nine of our tagged fish have been recovered from such places as Cuba, 
Azores, Flemish Cap, Nova Scotia. Sharks are usally seen near the surface during the 
warmest part of the day. 

12) I have never been in or observed a shark attack. Sharks are usually very shy around 
humans. We are not in their food chain. I believe shark attacks on humans are mistakes on 
the part of the shark. They investigate with their mouths. 

13) Sharks are very efficient preditors that would probably do quite well if it weren't for 
fishing pressure and by-catch from commercial fishing. 

14) We started fishing for sharks (tagging and releasing) in the mid-1980's and there have 
been numerous articles written about us in Downeast Magazine, The Maine Times, 
Heartland Magazine, and others as well as a television production on Divers Down TV. 

15) There are numerous stories of sharks, even Great Whites, encountered by boaters and 
fishermen in Maine. 

16) ? Let me know what other questions you might have. 



58 



Appendix C 

Tale of a Shag-Eyed Shark—a Poem 



Day, H.F. Up in Maine: Storie of Yankee Life Told in Verse by Holman F. Day. in Pine 
Tree Ballads . Boston: Small, Maynard & Company Publishers. 



'The mackerel bit as they crowed an' fit to 

grap at our gangin'bait, 
We were flappin' 'em in till the 'midship bin 

held clus' on a thousand weigh; 
When all of a sudden they shet right down an' 

never a one would bite, 
An' the Old Man swore an' he r'ared an' tore 

till the mains '1 nigh turned white, 
He'd pass as the heftiest swearin' man that 

ever I heard at sea, 
An' that is allowin' a powerful lot, as sartinly 

you will agree. 
Whenever he cursed his arm shot up an' his 

fingers they wiggled about, 
Till they seemed to us like a windmill's fans 

a-pumpin' the cuss- words out. 
He swore that day by the fodder hay of the 

Great Jeehookibus whale, 
By the Big Skedunk, an' he bit a hunk from 

the edge of an iron pail, 
For he knowed the reason the fish had dodged, 

an' he swore us stiff an' stark 
As he durned the eyes an' liver an' lights of a 

shag-eyed, skullkin' shark. 
Then we baited a line all good an' fin an' slung 

'er over the side, 
An' the shark took holt with a dretful jolt, an' 

he yanked an' chaned an' tried 
To jerk it out, but we held him stout so he 

couldn't duck nor swim, 
An' we h'isted him over— that old sea-rover— 

we'd business there with him. 

A-yoopin' for air he laid on deck, an' the skip- 
per he says, says he: 

"You're the wust, dog-gondest, mis'able hog 
that swims the whole dura sea. 

'Mongst gents as is gents it's a standin' rule to 
leave each gent his own — 

If ye note as ye pass he's havin' a cinch, stand 
off an' leave him alone. 



59 



But you've slobbered along where you don't 

belong, an' you've gone an' spiled the thing, 
An' now, by the pink-tailed Wah-hoo-fish, 

you'll take your dose, by jing!" 
So, actin' by orders, the cook fetched up our 

biggest knife on board, 
An' he ripped that shark in his 'midship bulge; 

then the Old Man he explored. 
An' after a while, with a nasty smile, he giv' a 

yank an' twist, 
"Hurroo!" yells he, an' then we see the liver 

clinched in his fist. 
Still actin' by orders, the cook fetched out his 

needle an' biggest twine— 
With a herrin'-bone stitch sewed up that shark, 

all righ an' tight an' fine. 
We throw him back with a mighty smack, 

an' the look as he swum away 
Was the most reproachful est kind of a look 

I've seen for many a day. 
An' the liver was throwed in the scuttle-butt, 

to keep it all fresh an' cool, 
Then we up with our sheet an' off we beat, 

a-chasin' that mackerel school. 

We sailed all day in a criss-cross way, but the 
school it skipped an' skived, 

It dodged an' ducked, an' backed an' bucked, 
an' scooted an' swum an' dived. 

An' we couldn't catch 'em, the best we'd do— 
an' oh, how the Old Man swore! 

He went an' he gargled his throat in ile, 'twas 
peeled so raw an' sore. 

But at last, 'way off at the dege of the sea, we 
suddenly chanced to spy 

A tall black-fin come fannin' in, ag'inst the sun- 
set sky. 

An' the sea ahead of it shivered an' gleamed 
with a shiftin' an' silvery hue, 

With there a splash an' there a dash, an' a rip- 
ple shootin' through. 

An' the Old Man jumped six feet from deck' 
he hollered an' says, says he: 

"Here comes the biggest mackerel school since 
the Lord set off the sea! 

An' right behind, if I hain't blind, by the prong- 
jawed dog-fish's bark. 

Is a finnin' that mis'able hog of the sea, that 
liverless, shag-eyed shark!" 

But we out with our bait an' down with our 

hooks, an' we fished an' fished an' fished, 

While 'round in a circle, a-cuttin' the sea, 
that black-fin whished an' slished; 



60 



An' we noticed at last he was heardin' the school 

an' drivin' 'em on our bait, 
An; they bit an' they bit an' we pulled 'em in at 

a reg'lar wholesail rate. 
We pulled 'em in till the Sairey Anne was wal- 

lerin' with here load, 
An' we stopped at last 'cause there wa'n't no 

room for the mackerel to be stowed. 
Then up cam a-finnin' that liverless shark, an' 

he showed his stiched-up side, 
An' the look in his eyes was such a look that 

the Old Man fairly cried. 
We rigged a tackle an' lowered a noose an' 

the shark stuck up his neck, 
The long an' slow, with a heave yo-ho, we 

h'isted him up on deck. 
The skipper he blubbered an' grabbed a fin an' 

gave it a hearty shake; 
Says he, "Old man, don't lay it up an' we'll 

have a drop to take." 
An', actin' by orders, the cook fetched up our 

kag of good old rum; 
The shark had his drink poured first, an' all 

of us then took some. 
Sill actin' by orders, the cook he took an' he 

picked them stiches out, 
An' we al turned to, an' we lent a hand; 

though of course we had some doupt 
As to how he'd worn it an' how 'twas hitched, 

an' whuther 'twas tight or slack, 
But as best we could— as we understood— we 

put that liver back. 
Then we sewed him up, an' we shook his fin 

an' we giv' him another drink, 
We h'isted him over the rail ag'in an' he giv' 

us a partin' wink. 
Then he swum away, an' I dast to say, although 

he was rather sore, 
He felt that he'd started the trouble first, an' 

we'd done our best an' more. 
'Cause a dozen times 'fore the season closed 

an' the mackerel skipped to sea, 
He headed a school an' drove 'em in, as gen- 
tlemanlike as could be. 
We'd toss him a drink, an' he'd tip a wink, as 

sociable as ye please, 
No kinder nor better-mannered shark has ever 

swum the seas. 



Now, the moral is, If you cut a friend before 

that you know he's friend, 
An' after he's shown it, ye do your best his 



61 



feelin's to nicely mend, 
He'll meet ye square, an' he'll call you quits, 

providin' he's got a spark 
Of proper feelin' —at least our crew can vouch 

this for a shark." 



3 5105 00075 5963