Photographer captures sharks feeding just off Jersey shore
POSTED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 12:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A once in a lifetime moment at the Jersey shore has become the latest YouTube sensation.
It's a video of sharks literally flying through the air as they devour fish.
"The sharks were attacking with incredible ferocity," said Tom Lynch.
Lynch says it happened Thursday just off Island Beach State Park in Ocean County.
He first saw the sharks about a mile out.
Only a few minutes later however, he says they were right in front of him.
"There were some that were going, I would estimate, literally 20 feet, sideways out of the water horizontally," said Lynch.
Lynch says there were easily dozens of sharks, if not more, feasting on menhaden.
"They were just going ballistic on this bait," said Lynch. "These sharks came in within 50 yards of the shoreline."
Lynch has shot many videos for his website, AngryFish.tv.
He says he's never seen anything quite like what he saw on Thursday.
As of Monday afternoon, his video has received more than 92,000 views on YouTube.
"I’ve seen a lot of things," said Lynch. "And I’ve never seen a shark feeding frenzy."
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says the sharks appear to be blacktip or spinner sharks, if not both.
The DEP says those types of sharks are more common to southern waters but that the ocean off the Jersey shore has been warmer than normal this year.
"It'ss unusual to my eyes for sure," said Dr. Richard Fernicola, author of "Twelve Days of Terror," a book investigating the New Jersey shark attacks of 1916.
"The water has been in the 70s since June," said Dr. Fernicola. "So this August, you certainly should see a very dynamic, vibrant ocean will all sorts of species."
Lynch says the shark attack only lasted a few minutes, yet it's a feast for the eyes he’ll never forget.
"What I saw going on that day with those sharks was unbelievable," said Lynch. "I don’t think I’m going to see it again."
The Department of Environmental Protection says there haven’t been any additional reported shark sightings from local beachgoers.
Officials also say unless you see something similar happening near the beach, you shouldn't be afraid to go into the water.