A great white shark was spotted off Harpswell on Tuesday.
In this Jan. 15, 2019, photo, a shark researcher and advocate swims with a large great white shark off the shore of Oahu. Credit: Courtesy of Juan Oliphant via AP

The first great white shark of the season was spotted off Harpswell.

The 12-foot shark was seen attacking a seal near Potts Point on Tuesday evening, according to The Times Record. The sighting came just hours after town officials unveiled a new tipline for shark sightings.

The seal survived Tuesday’s attack, making it onto a nearby rock, the newspaper reported.

The Maine coast is at the northern edge of the great white shark’s range, but the fish are not commonly spotted off Maine. There are two to three sightings of great white sharks off the Maine coast each summer, according to the National Oceanographic Data Center, with recent recorded sightings off Wells and Bailey Island in 2020, near a popular Kennebunkport beach in 2019, near Stratton Island off Old Orchard Beach in 2018 and near Wells in 2017.

As the Gulf of Maine continues to warm, some scientists have said such sightings could become more common in coming years, particularly as the sharks are attracted to the resurgent seal population off New England.

In July 2020, Maine recorded its first fatal shark attack when a great white shark bit Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, of New York City while she was swimming in Mackerel Cove off Bailey Island in Harpswell.

In the wake of that attack, the Maine Department of Marine Resources has partnered with several organizations, including the University of Maine, Bigelow Laboratory, Atlantic Shark Institute and Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, to deploy 31 acoustic sensors off the coast to track the movement of great white sharks.

Last year, those sensors detected 29 different sharks between June 15 and Nov. 21, according to the Department of Marine Resources.