NEW YORK, July 20 (UPI) — Beaches were closed on New York’s Coney Island and in New Jersey when multiple sharks were recorded close to shore.
A New York City Parks Department representative said stretches of Coney Island beach were closed Tuesday morning when several sharks were spotted swimming in the area, but the beach was fully reopened in the afternoon.
Jon Dohlin, director of the New York Aquarium, told NBC New York it was “impossible” to identify the sharks from footage showing their dorsal fins extending out of the water, but he said they were likely harmless basking sharks.
“It’s not an extraordinarily rare sight, but it certainly is exciting for New Yorkers to think that there’s wildlife in this ocean wilderness right off our shore here,” Dohlin told WPIX-TV.
He said sharks are generally not dangerous to New York swimmers.
“You want to be cautious and you want to be respectful,” Dohlin said.
A similar school of sharks was spotted swimming Tuesday off New Jersey’s Monmouth Beach. Local police shared a video showing the dorsal fins of at least four sharks moving around near the shore.
Police said there were no swimmers at Monmouth Beach at the time of the sighting.