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DEC says sharks aren't a threat to Long Island swimmers

Allan Lee

At least five swimmers have been bitten by sharks this summer on Long Island beaches. And while the encounters have resulted in some minor injuries, these sharks pose little threat to humans, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

State biologists said there is more wildlife in the region due to a multi-state effort to reduce pollution in combination with warmer water temperatures. That includes massive numbers of bunker fish — a favorite prey of sharks and marine mammals.

Young sharks are using Long Island’s estuaries as a nursery this summer, and they will likely migrate by the fall.

Humans on the other hand, are not on the menu. A bite from a shark is usually from a juvenile that did not know better, according to biologists.

The recent shark attacks have occurred near Smith Point, Jones Beach, Ocean Beach and Kismet, but sharks are spotted elsewhere using drones, boats and helicopters.

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.