Common Sharks of Delaware Bay
Sand Tiger - Odontaspis taurus - Gray- to tan with dark spots. Length to 10.5 feet.
First and second dorsal fins nearly equal in size. Teeth long, curved and not serrated. Protected species, none may be retained.
Sandbar Shark - Carcharhinus plumbeus - Also known as the brown shark. Color dark gray to brown on back, fading almost to white on belly. A heavy - bodied shark with a large first dorsal fin that begins at a point located at the middle of the pectoral fin. None may be retained.
Smooth Dogfish - Mustelus canis - Known locally as the sand shark, this harmless species is common in the Delaware Bay . Gray to gray-brown and ranging up to 5 feet in length. Large first and second dorsal fins, with “sandpaper-like” teeth.
Spiny Dogfish - Squalus acanthias - Easily identified by a sharp spine located at the leading edge of both the first and second dorsal fins. Commonly caught in cold water by anglers targeting mackerel or striped bass.
Many species of sharks have been overfished. A new state/federal shark
management plan has been adopted to reduce fishing mortality on many species.
Several species of sharks commonly occur in Delaware waters and are hooked by recreational anglers either targeting sharks or incidentally while fishing for other species.
In near-shore areas, these include the smooth and spiny dogfish, sandbar shark (also called brown sharks), and the sand tiger shark. In coastal waters and typically further off-shore in federal waters, some of the large coastal sharks include, but are not limited to, shortfin mako, blue shark, common thresher, and hammerheads.
Sharks are managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the regulations are complex.
For more detailed information on the shark management plan, contact the
NMFS or visit their web site. For a waterproof shark identification color
placard, contact NOAA at (301) 713-2347 or karyl.brewster-geisz@NOAA.gov.
Northern Pike Fishing