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Warmer Water Brings Sharks And New Shark Safety System To Long Island

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Nassau County is launching a new system to keep beachgoers safe from sharks after two were spotted off of Jones Beach this week.

County Executive Laura Curran says a purple flag with a shark silhouette will now fly on beaches where there has been a sighting in the past 24 hours.

“There have been 26 confirmed shark sightings so far this year here in Nassau County. That is six more than we had for the entire summer last year. And this summer obviously is not over yet,” Curran said.

Officials said swimming will be prohibited for at least an hour after a sighting so lifeguards can patrol the area.

Sharks have been increasingly attracted to Long Islands due to warmer waters.

Smith Point beach in Suffolk County was closed to swimming Monday after lifeguards spotted multiple six-foot sharks.

County Executive Steve Bellone said it’s the one of the first shark closures in years.

“I can tell you that this is the first time in at least more than four decades that we have had a beach closure due to shark sightings within a bathing area. And we've now had two this summer,” Bellone said.

The beach was able to reopen by the end of the day.

Leah is a former intern with WSHU Public Radio.