Shark Expert Tells Us What to Expect Off Long Island as Summer Comes

Photo: AFP

With warmer weather making its return to the tri-state area, that means sharks will be returning to the waters off our beaches. Does that also portend a return to last summer’s rash of shark attacks? Bob Hueter, chief scientist at OCEARCH, a group that tags, tracks and studies sharks, appeared on 710 WOR’s Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning program to tell us about the annual migration of these denizens of the deep.

“The white sharks are piled up around the outer banks of North Carolina,” Hueter told Riedel and newsman Joe Bartlett, who sat in for Berman. “They’ll start moving within about a month, and by July, they’ll be up around the Long Island area, when the water temperature gets over about 65 degrees. Right now, the water temperature, the sea temperature off of Long Island, is still in the 40’s, so it’s still too cold for them.”

Hueter postulates that younger sharks that briefly confuse humans with seals may be the cause for most shark attacks. “They make a sort of pit stop in New York. The thing about New York is it’s primarily a nursery area for the young white sharks. These are animals that are four to six feet long or so. Most of the bites, I think, that have occurred off of Long Island beaches have been by these juvenile white sharks that aren’t necessarily well-experienced at going after the right food.”

OCEARCH’s website allows people to track sharks that have been tagged. Hueter says education is the key to understanding how sharks think and behave. “They’re just remarkably evolved animals, beautifully adapted. Unfortunately, they’ve been hammered in our oceans over the last thirty years, and we’ve seen great depletions of sharks, and we need sharks to balance the ecosystem… they are coming back, and the oceans are getting healthier because the sharks are coming back.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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