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.
- shape of the head
- body shape and size
- length of the pectoral fins
- size and shape of the upper and lower caudal (tail) fin
- size and position of the first dorsal fin compared to the second fin
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 Shark.MAR@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Newfoundland and Labrador : NLSharkSightings@dfo-mpo.gc.ca.
Please e-mail or mail the fillable form (see below) to:
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
P.O. Box 1006, Dartmouth, NS
B2Y 4A2, Canada
Newfoundland and Labrador: NLSharkSightings@dfo-mpo.gc.ca
Report a sighting or incident in Pacific Canada
Call our toll free line: 1-877-50-SHARK (1-877-507-4275) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please e-mail, mail or fax the fillable form (see below) to:
Pacific Biological Station
3190 Hammond Bay Road
Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N7
Report a sighting or incident (PDF, 44 KB)
Depending on your browser, you may need to save this form to your device and open it using a PDF reader.
If you see a shark, remain a safe distance away and record as many details of the encounter as possible:
- Photograph(s) or video of the shark, including the dorsal fin
- Date of the encounter and time of day
- Location (as specific as possible, e.g. positional GPS data)
- Estimates of the total length (see Figure 1) and sex (males have claspers, see Figure 2) of the shark(s)
- Any distinguishing features (e.g. colour, scars), behaviours, visible wounds, swimming ability of the shark post-release
- Your name and contact information (voluntary)
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.
Learn more about
- Date modified: