NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — The Atlantic Shark Institute (ASI) announced Thursday that a large sand tiger shark was found on the Southwest Point of Block Island earlier this week.
The shark was discovered by a beachgoer who was exploring the rocky shoreline in that area.
Sand tiger sharks are considered critically endangered worldwide by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and they’ve been a prohibited species for decades, according to ASI Executive Director Jon Dodd.
“We really appreciate being notified about these sharks as otherwise, we wouldn’t have a good sense of where, when and how often these events occur,” Dodd said.
The IUCN says the population of sand tiger sharks is in trouble and has been decreasing for decades.
“We hate to see such a beautiful and protected shark end up on the beach like that and worse, we weren’t able to get samples for NOAA’s Apex Predator Lab in Narragansett,” Dodd added.
The ASI dispatched a volunteer who has expertise in taking samples for study, but indicated the shark was “no longer present due to tide and winds that likely reclaimed the shark.”
Sand tiger sharks can grow to about 10 feet in length and weigh several hundred pounds, according to the ASI.