Long Island Shark Man Chris Stefanou

Sophia Hall/WCBS 880

A Day At The Beach With The 'Long Island Shark Man'

August 15, 2018 - 1:55 pm
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MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Chris Stefanou, known to many on Tobay Beach as the “Long Island Shark Man,” uses modern technology including a drone, GPS and an iPhone to do an age old practice -- fishing.

The 22-year-old said over the past three years he has managed to catch at least 100 sharks and has been bitten only once on the pinky finger.

The Massapequa resident, whose favorite movie is not “Jaws,” says he doesn’t want to harm the sharks. His goal is to understand their movements and other habits.

After accidentally catching a shark, Stefanou started working with the organization NOAA to tag sharks and provide them with information like length, condition and gender.

"When I tag these sharks, scientists and researchers can better understand where their sanctuaries are; where they are migrating," Stefanou said. "They're looking to conserve certain types of species, and a lot of what I'm looking at is these things are becoming endangered because of us humans.”

He hopes he could get rid of the stigma around sharks.

"They really are amazing creatures, they're not looking to attack any humans," Stefanou said. "Nobody should be scared to go into the water."

He said the recent shark bites off Fire Island were accidents, not attacks.

"We're not their prey," he said. "A lot of people like to say shark 'attack,' it's always an accident with these sharks."

While some find the news of sharks appearing in the waters of Long Island is, Stefanou is celebrating.

"We should actually be happy that we're seeing all these sharks show up in the past two, three years because it shows how our oceans are accelerating and we're getting these species back,” he said.

You can find Chris at the beach sometimes five days a week and in the fall he will continue his education at Farmingdale State College, where he is studying to become a nurse.