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Greenport fisherman surprisingly catches brown shark: video

Fisherman John Skinner of Greenport has lived most of his life close to Long Island Sound. He had never seen a shark in person in the Sound.

That changed Saturday night.

While fishing for bluefish in Southold near Horton Point, Mr. Skinner said he hooked a brown shark. He captured the encounter on video and posted to his YouTube channel, John Skinner Fishing, which has more than 80,000 subscribers. The shark was quickly released, he said.

There have been a spike of recent shark sightings along the shore from Riverhead to Mattituck. A shark created headlines last month when it swam right up to shore in Mattituck while beachgoers were enjoying a day at the beach.

Chris Paparo, who studies sharks as part of the Shark Research and Education Program at the South Fork Natural History Museum, noted in a column this month that brown sharks, or sandbar, are a common species and can reach eight feet in length.

“They can be quite intimidating when spotted in the wild,” he wrote.

The brown shark is a prohibited species in New York, so anglers are barred from targeting them. The state Department of Environmental Conservation notes that catch and release does not ensure the survival of the sharks. The dusky and sand tiger sharks are also prohibited. Along with the brown shark, they are the three most likely to be encountered from shore, according to the DEC.

Anyone who happens to catch a prohibited shark should immediately release it, the DEC says. Additional guidelines are published here on how an angler should proceed if catching a shark. A shark should never be taken onto dry land beyond the surf zone. Sharks caught from shore should be left in as much water as possible while maintaining the angler’s safety, according to the DEC.