5 things to know about sharks at New York beaches

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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’s what you need to know when you head to the shore.

There are likely more sharks in New York waters today.

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

Sharks are increasing because they’re hunting smaller fish like bunker, Paparo said in a statement provided to The Post. The population of bunkers and other fish has rebounded after they dwindled decades ago due to overfishing and pollution, he added.

There are a lot of types of sharks, too.

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

It’s not clear which sharks are behind the attacks.

But experts believe 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.
The number of sharks in New York waters is increasing, according to an expert.
A map of the recent surge in Long Island shark attacks.

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

Tiger sharks appear browner and can range up to 10 feet, according to the institute.

Sighting of super predator white sharks are more likely to the north of New York, with a recent slew of sightings off Cape Cod.

Sharks don’t look at you like lunch.

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

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

Pro tip to avoid being mistaken for 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.
Gallo's foot after the shark attack during training.

You’re probably not gonna need a bigger boat.

Your chances of dying of 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.

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

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