‘Large, triangular fin’ spotted at Norton Point

A large triangular fin was spotted at Norton Point Thursday. - File photo

A Trustees of the Reservations night ranger spied a “large, triangular fin” near left fork at Norton Point Thursday evening around 6:30 pm, according Trustees stewardship manager Chris Kennedy.

The fin was reportedly seen traveling west to east.

Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty also said a fin had been sighted. 

Sam Hart, Trustees director for the Vineyard and Nantucket, said Edgartown officials, including the police, were informed of the sighting. 

Kennedy said Norton Point opened yesterday for limited oversand vehicle use. “We’ll be putting up signs,” Hart said. “We’re going to be vigilant. Our staff is on high alert.”

Hart categorized the fin spotted as an “unconfirmed sighting.”

In a follow-up email, Hart noted there are four categories the Trustees use to determine a response to sightings:

  • Unconfirmed sighting — a report of a fin or shark without a confirmatory photograph
  • Confirmed sighting — a report of a fin or shark with a photograph or visually confirmed by a qualified official
  • Predation — shark attack on a marine mammal
  • Attack — shark attack on a human


 “The first two categories result in the automatic closure of that beach for one or two hours after the fin was last spotted,” he wrote. “The third category results in the closure of the entire beach for [one] full day to allow blood and remains to wash out of the area. The fourth category, attack on a human, also results in a closure for additional days, with a full response by EMS, rangers, and lifeguards.”

The sighting comes days after a wounded dwarf sperm whale was sighted thrashing at the water’s edge over the course of two consecutive days at East Beach. Experts suspect a great white shark hit the whale, but are still trying to piece together what happened.