Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Environmental Studies Program


Loren E. McClenachan


Sharks are important predators in marine ecosystems. In the past few decades, there has been a documented loss in abundance of sharks across the globe. Although the trends are clear, there has been no study of shark population decline specifically in New England. The goal of this project was to explore the historical abundances of sharks in New England from 1820-1930 and the historical context of sharks during that time period. I used historical documents concerning fisheries to catalog the number of references containing incidental sightings and captures of sharks. I coded historical anecdotes about sharks to determine changes in relative abundances sharks during the period from 1820- 1930. Ten species of large sharks were present in New England from 1820-1930. The abundances and distribution of sightings varied throughout New England, with the highest sighting abundance and in Massachusetts. From 1882-1924, there appeared to be a slight decline in the relative abundance of large sharks in New England. Further studies could be done to increase the amount of data describing historical shark abundances in New England.


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sharks, New England, historical, population

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