Sharks play a key role in marine ecosystems worldwide. At the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, systematic study of mid-Atlantic sharks began in 1973 with the VIMS Shark Survey, which now stands as the longest-running fishery-independent study of shark populations in the world. This longline survey brought global attention to significant declines in shark populations due to overfishing, and led to the first U.S. management plan for sharks, in 1993. As fishing regulations help shark populations rebound in U.S. waters, data from shark research programs at VIMS continue to inform stock assessments and fishery management plans at federal and state levels.
To learn more about sharks and shark science at VIMS:
- Visit our species pages for a field guide to common mid-Atlantic sharks and the status of their populations
- Read our Frequently Asked Questions about sharks and shark-human interactions
- View the physical characteristics that are used to describe and identify different shark species
- Explore the 3 components of our shark research program: adult longline survey, juvenile COASTSPAN survey, and tagging studies
- Discover how shark research helps inform fishery management and conservation of shark species in Virginia and around the world