NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Brown sharks have been chomping away in Long Island Sound, according to anglers in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is asking anyone who reeled in half a fish on Long Island Sound to send in a photograph.
According to DEEP, there have been multiple reported incidents of brown sharks, also known as sand bar sharks, attacking striped bass as they struggle against fishing lines.
Reel Cast Charters out of Old Saybrook provided a video to News 8 of a brown shark biting a striped bass in half.
This is happening so often that the DEEP is asking people to send in pictures of their half-eaten fish.
“We like to know what their diet consists of and what they’re feeding behavior is,” Molnar said. “They’re opportunistic feeders. So they’ll feed on anything. So any fish in distress they’ll take.”
Mike Roy, the founder of Reel Cast Charter said anglers have been seeing the sharks at the eastern end of Long Island Sound. Roy said the sharks are becoming a nuisance because they are scaring away fish.
“Pretty much seven days a week, we’ll either have a fish bit in half or we’ll accidentally hook a shark which will eat one of our baits as we’re striper fishing or we’ll just see one,” Roy said.
Roy said most of the sharks they see are less than a hundred feet from shore and in less than 20 feet of water.
The Sunbeam Fleet fishing charter company said they are seeing an increase in not just brown sharks, but seals.
The owner Bob Wadsworth showed News 8 a video of one seal clamping onto a fish that is being reeled in, while another seal enjoys the meal it just stole from one of the fishermen on his boat.
Wadsworth runs his charter fishing boats out of Waterford not far from Harkness Memorial State Park where brown sharks have been spotted.
Both seals and brown sharks are protected species. DEEP said it has taken decades to rebuild the populations that were once overfished.
“That’s a good sign that we’re getting near a healthy ecosystem which is important,” said David Molnar who is with the Department of Energy and Enviormental Protection’s Marine Fisheries Division.
Some sharks have even been caught accidentally in nets with other catches.
Most fishermen though have seen sharks on the attack or at least seen the effects of their growing population, along with seals, in Long Island Sound.
They say sharks will swim away after they bite a fish being reeled in. Seals however will pop up and stay on the surface and eat it.
The above video is from the 6 p.m. newscast on 8/21/23.