The Maine Marine Patrol received this photo from the operator of a drone who sighted the shark near Pond Island Ledges in July 2020. A shark expert confirmed it is a great white shark. Courtesy of the Maine Marine Patrol

Hours after Harpswell town officials announced a new hotline to report shark sightings, Harpswell Neck resident Jim Scrivens reported seeing a great white shark attack a seal at Potts Point Tuesday evening.

After reporting the sighting to the town and speaking with a state marine biologist, Scrivens posted a message on social media: “Saw a great white (12 foot or so) chase a seal into the little bay in front of the house on Potts Point in Harpswell Tuesday evening. The seal made it up onto a rock and appeared to have suffered only a bloodied tail flipper, which shows how close he was to being dinner.

“I reported it to the town and talked with a state marine biologist about it. The state fellow said that he’d been expecting the call, as the water is getting warmer earlier every year, and the sharks are following the seals up the coast. The town has yet to put the shark flag up the pole on the beach. I just wanted everyone to know that they are back for the summer already, be careful out there!”

The post has been rapidly circulating on Facebook for the past 24 hours, with over 100 shares.

“Oh, that is close to my swimming spot,” commented Brunswick resident Margaret Leonard.

The Maine Department of Resources teamed up with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy and James Sulikowski of Arizona State University in 2020 to monitor the presence of great white sharks in Maine. The groups placed 31 acoustic monitoring devices off the mid and southern coast of Maine to record signals transmitted from sharks that researchers had tagged. Last year, 29 individual sharks were detected, according to the Maine Department of Maine Resources website.

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Last year Harpswell Select Board members took extra precautions and voted to hoist a purple flag with a white shark silhouette, warning local beachgoers whenever there was a nearby shark sighting.

The flag was in response to a fatal shark attack the year before.

This year, town officials have provided a phone number dedicated to reporting shark sightings in Harpswell.

The number — 1-800-501-1111 — will be answered at all times by the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center, which will then collect some information, and will then reach out directly to a Harpswell representative who will contact the caller.

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