New York monitors shark activity with drones due to increased encounters

Authorities in Long Island, New York, are taking measures to monitor the waters following a recent increase in shark incidents. Five people reported being bitten by sharks at popular beaches earlier this week. In response, the Suffolk County Police Department announced that it would increase its shark patrols using drones for aerial surveillance. The department encouraged swimmers to remain vigilant and to alert lifeguards or local officials if they spot a shark or a pod of bunker fish that attract the predators.

To enhance their monitoring efforts, the state's park director in Long Island stated that they now have drones in the sky and lifeguards on WaveRunners watching over the waters. A recent sighting of a 10-foot-long shark led officials to close the water at Robert Moses State Park temporarily. The University of Florida's Florida Museum of Natural History International Shark Attack File reported that New York had the second-highest number of unprovoked shark bites in the country last year.

Despite the increase in shark incidents, there have been no serious injuries reported. However, officials are concerned about the rise in cases. Prior to 2022, New York had only recorded twelve unprovoked shark bites. The U.S. recorded the highest number of unprovoked shark bites in 2022, with 41 confirmed cases, although that number is lower than in 2021.

To aid in their surveillance efforts, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the addition of ten drones earlier this year, bringing the total to eighteen. The drones now make sweeps three times a day at Jones Beach. Around a dozen species of sharks, including sand sharks, are known to swim off the coast of Long Island. Sand sharks are generally not known to attack humans unless provoked.

Some experts suggest that the increase in shark sightings may indicate a healthier ecosystem, with cleaner waters allowing small fish that sharks feed on to thrive. The efforts to monitor the waters and raise awareness about shark encounters aim to ensure the safety of beachgoers while preserving the natural balance of the marine environment.


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