Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino and Councilwoman Michele Johnson joined with researchers from the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences to discuss recent shark activity, as well as their efforts in studying sharks and tracking their movements in local waters.
In recent weeks, there have been more than a dozen reported sightings from several beaches, which suspected several different shark species. This resulted in swimming restrictions on almost a daily basis at local beaches, including TOBAY. Officials reminded residents that beach staff both in and out of the water make their safety and protection their top priority, and outlined steps taken by lifeguards, bay constables and other marine units patrolling waters.
“While it may be a little unnerving to hear about shark sightings and the topic can definitely be a scary one, it’s important for us to understand that sharks are naturally found in Long Island waters,” Saladino said. “Our greatest tool is education, and the research being conducted by the Stony Brook School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences helps us better understand shark activity.”
The supervisor noted that researchers, headed by principal investigator Dr. Michael Frisk, worked with the town earlier this summer to arrange a research program off TOBAY’s shoreline. Dr. Frisk’s group, consists of multiple doctoral students including newly doctorate student Dr. Oliver Shipley, PhD student Lisa Crawford and research technician Michael Fogg. The group studies movements and broader ecology throughout the coast and is conducted with a goal to establish knowledge of coastal-wide shark movement, as well as how these change over the summer months.
Johnson further explained that while shark attacks are extremely uncommon in our region, there are steps beach-goers can take to protect themselves and be careful in the water.
“In addition to avoiding wearing shiny jewelry, not swimming during night or dusk hours, and not wandering off from shore, general precautions and common sense are often our most important tool when enjoying our ocean waters,” Johnson said. “Remember to stay safe and listen to the guidance of beach and lifeguard staff. We share our waters with some amazing creatures, and we just have to make sure we do so safely and appropriately.”
—Submitted by the Town of Oyster Bay