A young fisherman in New Jersey pulled in a shark at a New Jersey beach while a tiny group of people watched in wonder. According to the 12-year-old boy’s father, this was a huge moment for his son.
Matthew Hagy spoke with Fox News and revealed that he was having his morning cup of coffee when one of his kids, Connor, came rushing to him and said that his brother, Cole, had caught something big.
Hagy explained that his boys and some friends had gone out that day to go fishing. According to him, Cole had grabbed smaller sand sharks before, but this was something special.
The shark, which was later identified as a sandbar shark, is the biggest fish Cole has ever grabbed. His dad explained that he once caught another large fish during a trip to North Carolina, but the fish slipped under the boat and cut the line. To this day, Cole still isn’t sure what he had caught.
This time, though, he reeled in the big shark while a crowd assembled around him. Once Cole got the shark in and took some photos, he released it back into the ocean, as he usually does. His pleased father shared photos of the catch to his Facebook page.
After catching something like, Hagy says when it comes to fishing, his son is "hooked for life."
Sharks are entirely out there near the East Coast and around the Sunshine State just as beachgoers return to Atlantic waters this summer.
A shark came at a man moving near a fishing line off the coast of Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park Thursday, and officials in Volusia County responded to separate incidents concerning a 12-year-old boy and a 71-year-old man Monday.
Farther north up the coastline, photos showed a dolphin swimming near South Carolina that had likely been attacked by a shark and near Rhode Island, a juvenile great white shark was recently tagged for the first time – though it was not the first to be recognized in the area.
As these marine apex predators move through the region, residents are taking note and local governments are taking precautions.
Maine announced last month that its state beaches and coastal parks were expected to embrace a flag system used in the nearby New England state of Massachusetts to inform residents of the proximity of sharks.
The Pine Tree State saw its first documented fatal shark attack in July of 2020 and Massachusetts’ Cape Cod peninsula has seen the number of Atlantic great white shark detections increase since the species was designated as protected and as seal populations have proceeded to build.
A 2018 white shark attack at Massachusetts’ Newcomb Hollow Beach took the life of a 26-year-old man identified as the first deadly shark attack in the state since 1936.
The University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File recorded a total of 57 unprovoked shark bites on humans last year.
Even though shark attacks around the world reduced for the third consecutive year in 2020, there were 10 unprovoked bites ending in deaths – making it the deadliest year for such attacks since 2013.
While shark sightings and detections have increased on the East Coast and in the area, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) notes on its website that “stock status remains uncertain.”
The AWSC works along with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to mark and track white sharks, after which data are shared with safety officials and the public.
“Before gaining federal protection in the late ’90s, it’s estimated that the population of great white sharks in the Northwest Atlantic may have declined as much as 80% as a result of fishing pressure,” AWSC CEO Cynthia Wigren explained in an email to Fox News on Friday. “Over the past decade, great white shark sightings and catch records have increased, suggesting some level of population recovery, but the status of the species remains uncertain. Conservation efforts are critical to the long-term survival of the species.”