— DNAinfo.com New York (@DNAinfo) June 24, 2014
Steve Fernandez and his friends were fishing about a mile off-shore near Rockaway Beach in Queens, when they spotted a 10-foot shark swimming near the rear of the boat, DNAinfo New York first reported. Later, the crew accidentally reeled in a "baby" 80-pound great white shark, which they presumed was the offspring of the larger shark.
"We put our hook in the water, got it next to the boat and that’s when we realized it was a great white," Fernandez told the New York Post. "I’ve been fishing my whole life but I’ve never seen one a mile off the beach."
Shortly after catching the baby great white, Fernandez reportedly tagged and released the shark back into the coastal waters in accordance with NOAA's shark management regulations. An avid fisherman, Fernandez said he usually reels in smaller sharks that are more far prevalent in New York waters.
The catch and release comes less than a week after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report indicating the population of great white sharks is surging in the waters off the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. Great white sharks are currently classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.