The two fishermen found the eight-foot great white shark caught in their fishing nets about 600 feet away from Richmond Island.
This undated photo provided by Atlantic White Shark Conservancy shows great white shark named Turbo. Credit: Courtesy of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy via AP

Nearly three years after Maine’s first fatal shark attack, two fishermen caught an eight-foot great white shark off the coast of Cape Elizabeth in June.

The shark was entangled in fishing nets around 600 feet off the coast near Richmond Island on June 12, according to the Portland Press Herald. Fisherman Dan Harriman and his sternman untangled the shark and released it.

Despite being within 1,500 feet of a beach, which would trigger a shutdown, the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands didn’t learn about the shark sighting until 12 hours after it was caught, the Portland Press Herald reported.

After 2020’s shark attack, Maine’s coastal parks adopted a flag system to warn beachgoers of nearby shark sightings. Shark sightings in Maine have increased since the attack — there were 44 in 2022 versus two or three each summer before the attack — but this may be due to increased efforts to track sharks in the area. This could also be due to warming waters bringing more seals up north, which therefore attracts more sharks.

Catching a great white shark is an “extremely rare and unlikely event,” Kurt Shoener, manager of Two Lights and Crescent Beach state parks, told the Portland Press Herald.

There have not been any beach clearings due to shark sightings this season, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Jules Walkup reports on the midcoast and is a Report for America corps member. They graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and moved to Maine from Tampa, Florida in July 2023.