From June 30th to July 20th there have been six possible shark bites in New York state. ISAF has not yet confirmed shark involvement in all cases. All victims survived with relatively minor injuries.
ISAF had only recorded 12 unprovoked bites in New York’s history prior to 2022. None of these incidents were fatal. There have only been four bites in the last decade (2012, 2015, and two in 2018). Many bites in this area involved juvenile sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus). Despite their fearsome appearance, their thin protruding teeth are excellent for snagging the small fish they feed on. There is a nursery for sand tigers located off Fire Island New York. Many shark bites around the world are from younger individuals in low visibility water. This is likely the case for some of the bites in this area. Using genetic techniques, the ISAF team previously identified this species from a tooth in the boy’s leg after he was bitten on Fire Island. You can read more about this incident here.
While the area has seen an increase in bites, this is not yet a trend. As our director, Dr. Naylor told NPR, “It’s a statistical fact that sharks don’t target people. If they did, we’d have about 10,000 bites a day.”. That said you can reduce your already low risk of shark bite using the tips provided here