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Another shark attack shuts down Suffolk County's Smith Point Beach

Albert Kok
Wikimedia Commons
Tiger shark

Smith Point County Beach on Long Island temporarily closed for swimming Wednesday morning after a surfer was bit by a shark.

This is the latest in a recent string of shark attacks on Long Island this summer including at Jones Beach and Ocean Beach. This is the second shark encounter at Smith Point in the last 10 days.

The surfer got a 4-inch gash in his leg while paddling on the water, from what he believes to be a tiger shark.

Experts say the shark was likely a sand tiger shark, which are common in Long Island waters. The tiger shark is found in tropical waters, and is a much more aggressive predator compared to the usually docile sand tiger.

The park in Shirley reopened to swimmers later in the afternoon. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said beach-goers may be looking at a new normal.

“...sharks are just a little bit closer to shore than they’ve been," said Bellone. "They’ve always been here, they’ve always been out there. Of course you’re interacting with marine life whenever you’re in the ocean, but they’re closer to shore now.”

Officials say shark sightings have become more frequent due to an increase of bunker fish prey closer to shore and warmer ocean temperatures.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.