A fisherman in New Jersey caught a great white shark earlier this month as officials in the tri-state report a record number of shark sightings in the region.
The surge in shark sightings this summer has been largely on Long Island where the highest number of sharks have been spotted in nearly 200 years. Bull sharks seen near the shore have kept people out of the water, but 150 miles away, Tim Brindley netted something much bigger.
Brindley says he has been fishing in the waters off Barnegat Inlet for four decades but he has never caught a great white shark before. The Aug. 1 find occurred just two miles from shore, Brindley said.
"I said, 'oh my god that's a great white.' I look down and it was big, it was so big," the fisherman recalled. His first mate says it was obvious that the shark had been dead long before the two of them found it, describing the smell as "horrific."
The pair says they snapped pictures of the 10-foot catch and released it back into the water. They later posted the photos online but never imagined they'd receive backlash from it.
"Everybody is like 'what are you catching great whites for?' I have been fishing for 42 years off Barnegat Light. The one thing I do is document everything. It would be a disservice if I didn't document this fish," Brindley said.
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The fisherman is also documenting a rise in the number of sharks he has been seeing. A great white shark was blamed for killing a New York City woman in Maine just last month.
Warmer waters are leading to an increase in the shark population near the shore, according to experts.
Shark sightings have become a semi-regular occurrence in Nassau County, with several sightings reported just last week. Officials have been modifying swimming restrictions or closing beaches entirely off-and-on for several weeks now.