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Shark season in New York: what you need to know before beaches open


ForumDaily New York

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The beach season in New York makes you think not only about sunbathing and the ocean, but also about the risks associated with sharks, reports Gothamist.

This week the beach season opens in New York, and with it the danger of encountering a marine predator increases.

Although, according to one maritime expert, the real risk of meeting with shark minimal. He said its very presence in city waters is actually a good sign.

On the subject: Small and large, popular and secret: 12 best beaches in New York

"It's a sign of a healthy ocean," said Hans Walters, a shark specialist at the New York Aquarium's Wildlife Conservation Society. – Not a single shark considers people food. None of them."

Worrying trend or good sign

At least six shark attacks were reported on city beaches in 2022, more than in the previous 10 years combined, according to the International Shark Attack File.

Last summer, four shark attacks were reported on Long Island beaches during Independence Day weekend alone. In response, Gov. Kathy Hochul sent out dozens dronesto keep an eye out for predators from the sky.

Rockaway Beach was temporarily closed to swimmers and surfers in August after a shark bit a 65-year-old woman on the leg while she was standing in the water.

Walters said seeing more wildlife near the shore could be good news. This is an indicator of how much cleaner the water has become. In his view, the number of shark attacks each summer is negligible compared to the millions of people who visit the city's beaches.

“If someone gets injured, that's obviously a bad thing and not something to be taken lightly,” Walters said. “But based on the numbers, the chances of such a meeting are still infinitesimal.”

Not all sharks are dangerous

Scientists are not sure why the number of shark incidents has increased in recent years. Walters said there is no need to be afraid of the roughly two dozen species of sharks that people may encounter in the waters around the city.

Among the common species on city beaches are american marten shark, which does not have sharp teeth that can harm a person. There are also blacktip and juvenile white sharks, which survive almost exclusively on fish. The common sand shark is much more common in New York waters than the great white shark, Walters said.

Walters advises New Yorkers to be alert to any potential interactions with these predators this summer. You need to watch out for small fish swimming close to the surface of the water. According to him, you should avoid swimming in such places - the accumulation of fish is likely due to the presence of a predator nearby.

“Sharks don’t attack people because they’re angry. I don't believe they mistake feet, arms and legs for fish. We are simply caught in the crossfire of a predator pursuing its food,” explained a specialist from the New York Aquarium.

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