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Official: Swimming at some Robert Moses beaches halted after shark caught

It's the latest temporary closure after two children were bitten on Wednesday in the waters off Fire Island.

A beachgoer digs a hole at field 2,

A beachgoer digs a hole at field 2, after some fields at Robert Moses were closed for about an hour Saturday after a fisherman caught a shark there, an official said.  Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

Some swimming areas at Robert Moses State Park were closed for about an hour Saturday after a fisherman caught a shark there, an official said.

The fisherman caught a 5-foot-long sand tiger shark just east of the Field 3 swimming area at about 11:15 a.m. Saturday. Swimmers were directed out of the water at Fields 2, 3 and 4 and were allowed to stay on the sand, the official said.

State parks spokesman George Gorman said swimmers were allowed back in the water at 12:20 p.m. after a significant number of lifeguards surveyed the waters for further signs of sharks.

“Our protocol is to wait an hour after the shark departs the area,” he said.

If officials saw any telltale fins or other signs, then the swimming areas would not be reopened, he said.

Two children were bitten on Wednesday in the waters off Fire Island.

A state Department of Environmental Conservation official confirmed Thursday that one of the victims, a 13-year-old boy, was bitten by a shark after a tooth fragment pulled from his leg was analyzed. The age and size of the shark could not be determined.

The other victim, a 12-year-old girl, is also believed to have been bitten by a shark based on the nature of her wound, the official said.

Sand tiger sharks, sandbar sharks and thresher sharks are common in Long Island waters during the summer, said Tobey Curtis, a NOAA shark researcher. Juvenile sharks spend the warmer summer months chasing schools of bunker fish before they grow large enough to swim farther out into the Atlantic.

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