Three more shark sightings, at Jones Beach on Saturday morning, prompted authorities to temporarily ban swimming for a few hours at two locations, officials said.
Sightings continue an unprecedented string of shark-related incidents in which predators have been spotted near shore on Long Island and a few bitten swimmers have been spotted this summer. None of those bitten suffered serious injuries.
The first sighting occurred at 8 a.m. on Saturday when a fisherman casting from shore caught and released a 4-foot-long sand shark around 8 a.m. in the Field 6 area, George said. Gorman, Long Island regional director for the State Parks Office. , recreation and historic preservation.
Swimming was halted in the area around Field 6, which encompasses the area around the Central Mall and East Bath House, he said.
Another fisherman, who is also fishing from shore, caught a shark in the same area at 9 a.m., Gorman said, adding that swimming resumed at 10:45 a.m. He said it was unclear if the shark was the same one caught earlier.
A lifeguard spotted a shark at Jones Beach’s West End Field 2 at 10:45 a.m. and swimming was suspended until noon, Gorman said.
Gorman said Saturday’s overcast skies reduced typical weekend attendance at the beach.
“Jones Beach is still open, but swimming is prohibited when we see a shark,” Gorman said. “We are monitoring [the water] very carefully.”
All beaches patrolled by Suffolk and Nassau counties were open Saturday, with no sightings, officials said.
The town of Hempstead, which patrols Nickerson in Nassau to Point Lookout, also reported no shark sightings on Saturday, officials said. None of the beaches were closed.
The town of Oyster Bay also reported the beaches open for swimming, with no shark sightings on Saturday, spokeswoman Madison Spanodemos said.
“The protocol remains the same: rescuers are still actively observing from land, while marine units patrol from the waters,” Spanodemos said in a text. “If there is a shark sighting, the rescuers notify the police department and they dispatch the aviation unit, including a helicopter and a drone. The waters are also cleared for an hour as an extra precaution. ”
Tobay Beach lifeguards spotted a total of six sharks on Thursday, and when one – around 3ft long – came within about 30m of shore, the swim was halted at 1.20pm, Spanodemos said.
Swimming was restored on Friday. Tobay Beach, just four miles east of Jones Beach State Park, is part of Oyster Bay Town, one of several communities stepping up shark protections.
“We haven’t seen any sharks since. [Thursday]“said Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
Saladino pointed to cleaner waters thanks to conservation efforts and regulations that have increased the number of bunker fish, a favorite food of sharks. He noted that there had been improvements to sewage systems and reductions in rainfall runoff.
“The water is cleaner. We see more dolphins, whales, bluefish and striped bass,” he said. And, he says, more predators like sharks.
Saladino said swimmers should learn ways to stay safe from sharks, such as swimming where lifeguards are on duty, not swimming at dawn or dusk, major shark feeding times and not not swim when bleeding.
“We’re going to take it one day at a time,” he said.
At least four people are believed to have been bitten by a shark this month, with two incidents at Smith Point County Park and two off Fire Island. In late June, a man said he was bitten off Jones Beach, but it was unclear if it was a shark bite.
Experts told Newsday that the recent attacks continued what was described as an escalation in an area that records show has averaged about one attack per decade over the past century.
Also, most sharks that approach the shore are smaller sharks — fish-eaters, not man-eaters, they said.