Wildlife, Fish and Marine Life Newsletter

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
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Wildlife, Fish, and Marine Life Newsletter

Shark Fishing in New York’s Marine Waters

Mako sharkNew York's marine waters provide important habitat to many shark species! Commercial and recreational fishing for sharks have been practiced for hundreds of years and has influenced many of New York’s coastal and fishing communities. Before shark fishing, you must apply for the NYS Recreational Marine Fishing Registry and a NMFS Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Permit.

Sharks with an interdorsal ridge (which is a visible line of raised skin between the two dorsal fins) are known as ridgeback sharks. Anglers are prohibited from targeting and possessing all ridgeback sharks (except the tiger, oceanic whitetip and smoothhound). Dusky and sandbar (brown) sharks are commonly found ridgebacks that are prohibited from taking.

If you catch a prohibited shark, please remember the following best practices:

  • Minimize your fight time and release time. Exhaustion can cause the shark to die. Do not delay release to take pictures.
  • Always keep the shark in the water. If fishing from shore, do not drag a shark beyond the surf zone. If fishing from a boat, keep the shark in the water alongside your boat facing into the current.
  • If the shark is hooked in the jaw, use a long-handled de-hooking device to help with hook removal or bolt cutters to cut the hook.
  • If it is not possible to remove the hook, cut the leader as close to the hook as safely as the situation allows. Long lengths of leader left with the shark decrease its chance of survival after it is released.
  • Remember, “If you don’t know, let it go!”

Tagging sharks does not exempt you from regulations and enforcement actions.

Photo by Justin Pellegrino.

State Lands to Visit: Tioughnioga Wildlife Management Area

Tioughnioga WMATioughnioga Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located in central Madison County. It contains 3,744 acres of mixed forests, small wetlands, extensive apple orchards, small and large open fields, and the headwaters of the Otselic River. The WMA was originally acquired in 1937 as abandoned farmland and has mostly become mature and intermediate forest. However, some of the more recent farm fields are still open and managed as grasslands for wildlife.

Timber harvests are common on the property, which increase forest and habitat diversity and encourage wildlife use. White-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, beaver, eastern cottontail, coyote, and many more species of mammals are common throughout the property and sought after by local hunters and trappers. Visitors can also enjoy birdwatching and hiking through the varied habitats. Damon and Dugway roads split the property and are maintained year-round.