Sharks in the northeast appear to be working smarter, not harder — and that’s causing some headaches for local fishermen.
The somewhat scary images of half-eaten fish were first brought to the public sphere by the Connecticut Fish and Wildlife official Facebook page.
There, the bureau shared a post on Aug. 15 depicting a perfectly content fisherman holding his catch.
Note the lack of body on the catch:
“Seeing this makes ‘Gonna need a bigger boat!’ Echo in my head,” the post began. (The “Gonna need a bigger boat” line is a reference to the seminal 1975 shark-based horror film “Jaws.”)
The post added: “Yesterday while reeling in this striped bass these anglers had an unexpected visitor who proceeded to chomp most of this Striped Bass in one bite. We hear of this happening more and more over the past couple of years.”
Going through the responses to the above post, it’s clear that these body-less fish are indeed becoming a more frequent occurrence.
There are a number of photos below that post showing smiling fishermen holding their half-eaten catch.
In a post a couple of days later, Connecticut Fish and Wildlife tried to downplay any concerns associated with the admittedly horrific-looking imagery.
“Our Long Island Sound is home to several species of shark, none of which are of concern from a public safety issue,” the follow-up post began. “We suspect the culprit which bit a striped bass while being reeled in and was the focus of a recent post on this page, was probably a sandbar (brown) shark, or less likely a dusky shark or sand tiger shark (these species are a little rarer than the sandbars).
“These species are native/endemic to Long Island Sound and in fact, are all threatened/protected species. We are not formally monitoring recreational angler/shark interactions so we do not know if there is an increase or not. However, if it is true there is an increasing number of interactions with anglers it is actually a positive sign of a native depleted predator species perhaps increasing in abundance.
“To be clear, sharks snagging a recreational angler catch here and there is not a bad thing, but instead is a positive sign for the Long Island ecosystem, and there is no concern for public safety. ”
“Positive sign” or not, not all fishermen are as cool with this development as the Connecticut Bureau would have you believe.
Trevor Berwick, a charter captain based in Connecticut, told Fox that things were actually getting “out of control.”
“We deal with them on a daily basis now. It’s just kind of the way of the day,” Berwick told Fox. “[The sharks are] grabbing the back of fish. They’re chasing fish. They’re grabbing baits, and it’s just been getting kind of out of control.”
“[My] fish was caught alive in Block Island, Rhode Island, and bitten right before landing into the boat. Not sure what kind of shark, but it’s happening more and more frequently,” Brian Swiat told Fox.
Indeed, one can only imagine the sense of defeat when an angler finally reels in a catch … only to discover that it’s just a wriggling, half-alive, half-eaten fish that doesn’t even realize how dead it is yet.
Most fishermen are reportedly throwing the fish heads back into the water, so sharks and bottom-feeders can finish them off.
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