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Shark sightings

Everyone who encounters a shark is encouraged to document and report the sighting to DFO.

Most people don't know what to do when and if they see a shark. The answer is: enjoy the view from a safe distance. Sharks are wild animals, and deserve the same level of respect given to any other wild animal. They should never be touched or approached too closely.

When you see a shark in the ocean be sure to note a few key characteristics that may help you identify it later.

If you encounter a shark, let us know

Report a sighting or incident in Atlantic Canada

Call our toll free line: 1-844-400-7870 or e-mail
Newfoundland and Labrador :

Please e-mail or mail the fillable form (see below) to:
Shark sightings
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, NS
B2Y 4A2, Canada


Newfoundland and Labrador:

Report a sighting or incident in Pacific Canada

Call our toll free line: 1-877-50-SHARK (1-877-507-4275) or e-mail

Please e-mail, mail or fax the fillable form (see below) to:
Shark sightings
Pacific Biological Station
3190 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7
Fax: 250-756-7053


Report a sighting or incident (PDF, 44 KB)

To fill out a PDF form, you must:

  1. download it to your computer
  2. use PDF software to open it (such as, Adobe Reader or Foxit PDF)

For more information: How to download and open a PDF form

If you see a shark, remain a safe distance away and record as many details of the encounter as possible:

In particular, reporting white shark sightings in the Atlantic helps scientists gain knowledge about this species, which is listed as Endangered under the Species at Risk Act.

Be careful not to hit a shark with your boat. Basking sharks in particular are at risk of vessel strikes as they are slow-moving and are often encountered while feeding or “basking” on the surface. Propellers may injure a basking shark as they slowly swim away from a vessel.

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