In Fire Island, New York, four sharks have been pulled from the water after two children were bitten on Wednesday. Authorities have confirmed sharks bit a 13-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Marine Resources Jim Gilmore stated a tooth found in the wound of the young boy has generally determined it was a sandbar tiger shark.
According to AbcNews, although shark bites are not uncommon, ones so close to the shore are reported.
“Those sharks don’t like humans, but they were just in the surf looking for forage fish and probably a mistaken identity, and maybe have bitten these children,” Gilmore stated. “We haven’t seen this in my lifetime, and I’m a new York, Long Island resident.”
The incidents occurred at Atlanique Beach and Sailors Haven. The boy had been on a boogie board and when a wave knocked him off, he was bitten. The young girl bitten stated she had been standing in the water and was sure it had been a shark. Both children were treated and expected to fully recover.
Anglers were applauded on Thursday after releasing the sharks that were caught about 100 yards off the beach. Lola Pollina, who had been bitten by the shark was glad the fish had been returned to the sea. A video showing two men pulling a four-foot thrashing shark out of the ocean by its tail sent waves of anger through social media. It has not been confirmed if any of the sharks captured were the ones who bit the children.
In New York State, the rules for the capture of sharks is explicit and it is illegal to take or possess prohibited shark species:
“Shark fishing is popular with recreational and tournament anglers in New York. Before you head out to try your luck at shark fishing, you must first register with the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry and apply for a federal Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit (link leaves DEC website).
When fishing for sharks, you should be able to identify prohibited shark species and understand the rules associated with these species. For more detailed information about shark species identification, download and review the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Prohibited Shark Identification Placard and the Shark Identification Placard (links leave DEC website).”
Commonly encountered prohibited shark species found in New York state waters include Sandbar (“Brown”), Dusky, and Sand Tiger sharks. These three species are primarily the only species of large (non-Dogfish) shark anglers will encounter from shore.
(Photo of shark pulled from Fire Island beach via screen grab of AbcNews video)
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