Environment News: A real-life Shark Week off New York City beaches – Rockaway Beach, Long Island beaches; Long Beach, Jones Beach, and Jersey Shore
This great white probably wasn’t the star of Rockaway Beach’s
recent Shark Week
Shark Warnings are in effect for New York, Long Island, New Jersey coastlines
Surfs up, strong rip
Shark sightings off Queens’ Rockaway Beach make this New York City coastline seem like an episode out of the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.
Brave surfers reported seeing between one and three sharks swimming close to shore, even slicing through the waves directly under surfboards, over the August 7-8 weekend. The surfers alerted beach patrol, which closed Rockaway Beach (pictured, below right) for about an hour to swimmers seeking to beat the summer heat.
Though all of the lucky beachgoers avoided the bloody fate of so many Shark Week episode participants, many seemed wary of getting back in the water after the beach reopened. But a few long-time Rockaway denizens, who make the city’s only surfing-allowed public beach their summer hangout, dismissed the Shark Week comparisons and told the New York Times’ City Room blog that shark sightings are to be expected in the ocean.
“It’s a regular part of life in the ocean. The water’s warm, the bait comes close to shore, and the bigger fish chase the bait,” said surfer Alex Karinsky, 46, a Rockaway resident.
No details have been released about what species of shark was spotted. Bull sharks, a particularly aggressive species routinely featured on Discovery’s Shark Week programs, are known to swim close to shore and occasionally bite humans.
Though rumors about “baby great whites” swirled about in this local edition of Shark Week, the mystery sharks of Rockaway Beach likely can’t compare to the actual great whites that have been seen lurking off Cape Cod and Chatham, Massachusetts this summer.