NEW YORK - Nassau County is expanding shark patrols at all of its beaches.
"Last summer, Nassau County had about 20 shark sightings, which was extremely unusual and started around the same time that we're starting to see them this year," said Nassau County Executive, Laura Curran. "The first sighting close to shore last year was around July 28th. So we are anticipating and preparing for a similar situation this summer."
Curran added warmer and cleaner water has resulted in more schools of bunker—and thus more sharks.
"Our enhanced patrols in the air and on the water and will utilize already active police helicopters and assign marine units to scan the water for the first signs of shark activity—which are often near schools of baitfish: bunker," Curran said.
The stepped-up patrols come after two straight days of shark sightings—including two sand sharks spotted off the coast of Jones Beach and Nickerson Beach.
"If anything is spotted coming too close to the shore—officers will convey that info to the lifeguards and they will make the appropriate safeguards," added Curran. "We’re not doing this to frighten people — we just want people to be aware of what’s going on."
Officials say unprovoked shark attacks are uncommon. In fact, the last shark attack on Long Island was back in 2018.
Drone pilot Tim Regan said he captured a school of dozens of sharks roughly 200-300 yards off the coast of Mecox Beach in Bridgehampton.
"We’re getting a lot of southern species coming in off of the Gulf Stream—coming in close to the coast because there's all this menhaden [bunker] here… it's been a pretty crazy wildlife show for the past week and a half," Regan said.
Regan added that most of the sharks along the coast will either be brown sharks, dusky sharks or sand tiger sharks -- and stressed that it's illegal to fish for them as they are federally protected because of being over-fished in the past.
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