Shark Fishing in Maine: What is the Apex Predator Tagging Program?

An Apex Predator is an animal that is at the top of the food chain as an adult and has no natural predators in its eco system. Here we are talking SHARK, big toothy beasts that prowl the oceans in search of food, big and small. In particular we are referring to the shark that inhabit the ocean off the coast of Maine. These include blue shark, mako shark, porbeagle shark, thresher shark and the occasional Great White Shark! Did you know that the Great White Shark is federally protected? It is illegal to try to catch a Great White Shark and if you happen to hook into one you must release it immediately! Did you know that the Blue Shark is not edible? Yuck, it urinates through it’s flesh!


But, the Apex Predator Tagging Program includes all shark that roam the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and is managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service  ( and it is a Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP) – which means that anybody can participate in this very important program at no cost to him or her.


We do and are proud to have tagged and released ALIVE many shark while deep sea fishing off the coast of Maine. We feel very strongly about releasing all shark alive as they offer a fantastic opportunity to the “sport fishing” industry to provide anglers with memories that last a lifetime and even more importantly the shark is a very critical member of the eco system.


The tagging program (APTP) provides anglers with a kit that contains a tag (see below), information card, dart and directions on how to tag a shark and report on the shark that was tagged. It is a very simple process that allows the shark to be identified with a tag unharmed, record the information about that specific shark and to send the report to the APTP. Between 1962 and 2010 there were 221,000 shark of 52 species that were tagged and of those, 13,000 of 33 species have been re-captured. The oldest re-captured shark was 27.8 years older than when first captured. The shark that had traveled the farthest was 3997 miles away from the first capture!


So now you know what the Apex Predator Tagging Program is and how it works. What are you waiting for…. call Maine Ocean Adventures today so that you can book your “trip of a lifetime” and tag “your” shark! 207.751.6966




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