Park officials closed the beach on Coney Island today after sharks were spotted about ten feet from the shore this morning. Swimmers were told to evacuate the water around 11:30am.
John Dohlin, director of the New York Aquarium, said that several sharks have been spotted in at the crowded public beach. Though he said he couldn’t positively identify the sharks from photos or videos, he said that they appeared to be harmless basking sharks that had come close to the shore for feeding. He also released the following statement:
“Today’s reported shark sightings off Coney Island are a reminder that New York City and its waterways are home to fascinating marine wildlife. A vast ocean wilderness literally laps against the city’s shores, and we share these waters with whales, seals, sea turtles, and yes, sometimes sharks. We agree with the decision by New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation to close beaches out of an abundance of caution and respect for these animals. As people watch from shore we hope they will remember that sightings like these are opportunities for all New Yorkers to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and diversity of the ocean.”
Park officials have made no comments regarding the sharks.