5 things to know about sharks at New York’s beaches

A rash of shark attacks on Long Island could make beachgoers think twice about catching some waves this summer.

But before you choose to stay on the sand, here is what you need to know when going to the coast.

There are probably more sharks in New York waters today.

“And that’s a good thing,” said Christopher Paparo, director of Stony Brook University’s Marine Sciences Center.

Sharks are increasing because they hunt smaller fish as piles, Paparo said in a statement to The Post. The population of bunkers and other fish has returned after declining decades ago due to overfishing and pollution, he added.

There are also many types of sharks.

New York waters have sand tiger sharks, tiger sharks, dark sharks, spinner sharks and smaller white sharks, experts tell The Post.

It is not clear which sharks are behind the attacks.

But experts believe that sand tiger sharks are the likely aggressors.

There have been five shark attacks on Long Island in the last two weeks - including two at Smith Point Beach.
There have been five shark attacks on Long Island in the last two weeks – including two at Smith Point Beach.
Dennis A. Clark
The number of sharks in New York waters is rising, according to one expert.
The number of sharks in New York waters is rising, according to one expert.
Getty Images / 500px
A map of the recent rise in Long Island shark attacks.
A map of the recent rise in Long Island shark attacks and sightings.

Sand tiger sharks look grayer, can reach up to 10 feet and are second only to white sharks in terms of their encounters with humans, according to the Shark Research Institute’s website.

Tiger sharks look browner and can reach up to 10 feet, according to the institute.

Observation of super predator white sharks is more likely north of New York, with a recent series of sightings off Cape Cod.

Sharks do not look at you as lunch.

“One thing to keep in mind is that sharks are not out there trying to eat surfers and swimmers,” Stony Brook’s Paparo said. “They would much rather eat fish, but in many cases they confuse us with their actual prey.”

When they bite, they usually move on, he added.

Professional tip to avoid being confused with something to eat: avoid swimming into a school of fish, Paparo said.

Long Island lifeguard Zach Gallo was bitten by a shark earlier in July.
Long Island lifeguard Zach Gallo was bitten by a shark earlier in July.
Dennis A. Clark
Gallo's foot after the shark attack during training.
Gallo’s foot after the shark attack during training.
News 12

You probably do not need a larger boat.

Your chances of dying from a shark attack in your lifetime are 1 in 3,748,067, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History’s International Shark Attack File.

In comparison, your chances of dying from a lightning strike are 1 in 79,746. Nine people died from confirmed shark attacks worldwide last year, with 73 reported bites across the globe in 2021 and 72 attacks per year on average over the past five years, according to the file.

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