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Swimming delayed at two LI beaches due to shark reports, parks official says

Red flags were up after a possible shark

Red flags were up after a possible shark sighting at Jones Beach on July 29. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Swimming at Jones Beach and Robert Moses state parks was temporarily prohibited Wednesday, a state parks official said, due to reports of sharks — a recurring problem since around mid-July.

Swimming was finally authorized at Jones Beach around 4 p.m. after a drone operator gave the all-clear following an earlier sighting of a possible sand shark, said George Gorman, the Long Island regional director for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

But swimming remained prohibited Wednesday afternoon at Robert Moses, where a large group of bunker fish was spotted with a possible tiger sand shark located too close to shore, Gorman said.

"At Robert Moses we are seeing the same situation as happened a week and a half ago at Jones Beach," Gorman said. "A large amount of bunker fish feeding offshore. … And that’s drawing the bigger fish to eat."

In addition to a tiger sand shark, officials have also spotted a possible thresher shark, Gorman said.

At Town of Hempstead ocean beaches, swimmers were allowed only "knee deep" all day Wednesday as a precaution, a town spokesman said. Lifeguards will reassess the situation Thursday morning, the spokesman said.

In Islip, swimming at Seaview and Kismet beaches was temporarily suspended Wednesday morning as a result of multiple sightings of "dangerous marine life," a reference to jellyfish, sea lice or sharks, town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said. Both beaches reopened for swimming by early Wednesday afternoon, Smith said.

At all other Islip beaches, purple and red flags are being flown, which Smith said is the town's protocol to "make bathers aware that dangerous marine life has been spotted."

And for the third day in a row, swimming was prohibited at Davis Park Beach at the Fire Island National Seashore in Patchogue, said Brookhaven Town spokesman Jack Krieger. He could not immediately say whether this was due to any shark sightings.

The first two days of closures at Davis Park were because either bait fish or sharks were seen too close to the shore.

However, swimming was allowed in Long Beach, another popular spot west of Jones Beach, according to a lifeguard representative.

With Robert Brodsky

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