On Tuesday afternoon, Anthony Cortes and his father in law, David Hermann, were flounder fishing just 7 miles off of the coast of Atlantic City when they saw something they had never seen before...a massive 12 foot shark devouring a Bottlenose Dolphin.
Cortes, the fisherman who filmed the shark attack, told NBC40, "I've never seen a shark that big in my life up-close besides on ‘Shark Week,' that's it." David Hermann, another witness to the shark attack, said, "I've been out there hundreds of times and I've never seen anything like that before. It was amazing."
Cortes explained the incident by saying, "As we were drifting along fishing, we happened to see a 2 foot fin sticking up out of the water and we went over to the fish to inspect it and we got to see a spectacular image of a shark chewing apart a Bottlenose dolphin." Hermann added, "It was going around in a circle and then it would attack it and then it would go around in another circle and then attack it like that."
Marine mammal experts are trying to determine what has caused 19 dead Bottlenose dolphins to wash up on New Jersey beaches in the last 19 days. Marine Mammal Stranding Center Director, Bob Schoelkopf, says the Great Egg Harbor Reef is a common place for animals to become tangled in fishing lines, attracting sharks, like the one seen in the video.
Schoelkopf said, "They end up drowning in that, and in fact, that's one of the problems that we have with these reefs is that these animals become entangled and drown - and that brings in the sharks to feed on them."
Cortes explained, "It was chomping on the flesh of the dolphin - it was pretty hideous."
The fishermen who filmed the incident estimated the shark to have been 12 to 13 feet in length. Hermann said, "It was the biggest shark I've ever seen out there. We thought maybe it was a Tiger shark but I think it was a Great White."
Officials with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center were unable to identify the species of shark based on the video.
They are urging any other fishermen who witness events like this one to contact the 24-hour stranding center hotline with a location of where they saw the incident so that the Coast Guard or other authorities can recover the animal.