Shark! City closes Coney beaches after predator sightings

Jaws! The city closed Coney Island Beach because people spotted basking sharks like this one off its shores.
Brooklyn Paper
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Come on in, the water is fine!

The Parks Department has re-opened Coney Island Beach this afternoon after closing it earlier today because sharks were swimming dangerously close to the shore. It was the first time in recent memory that the city has banned bathing because of the swimming killing machines, officials said.

“We don’t have records that go that far back — suffice it to say, it seems to have been a long time,” said Parks Department spokesman Sam Biederman.

Big schools of feeder fish attracted what appeared to be basking sharks — a filter feeder that can grow up to 20 feet long — strangely close to Coney bathers, according to New York Aquarium director Jon Dohlin.

“What we think brought them in so close — which is unusual — is schools of small forage fish sighted along with these sharks,” he said.

The fish are not dangerous to humans, but the city has cordoned off the coast to play it safe, Biederman said.

“Out of an abundance of safety, Parks closes beaches to swimmers when sharks are in the immediate area,” he said. “Because sharks have been sighted in certain areas of Coney Island Beach today, Parks has closed specific stretches of beach and will continue to monitor the situation.”

Area anglers and litoralists have been predicting to this paper all year that a booming crop of bunker fish will bring meat-eaters — including sharks, whales, and seals — within striking distance of Brooklyn’s beaches.

Fisherman plucked 17 thresher sharks from the seas near Sheepshead Bay during a tournament last month.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018: The beaches are back open!
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Reasonable discourse

chris from greenpoint says:
thx Diblasio

July 19, 2016, 1:56 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Now, while these are very large fish (they grow up to 26 feet) and are often mistaken for "Great White" sharks I don't see a major threat here, if you don't mind me sharing my opinion. These are very slow moving fish (your own John Wasserman once swam right by one while it was filling it's face with plankton).
There is something that does concern me, however. These sharks are able to leap entirely out of the water and they do NOT avoid boats. Pardon my suggestion but please do the math:
These sharks could crush a swimmer and/or a boat at any given time by jumping on them.
I applaud the firemen that have closed these beaches down and until these sharks are removed I believe these beaches should remain closed.
John Wasserman
July 19, 2016, 2:40 pm
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
I have to say that re-opening these beaches may be just a little too premature, in my opinion. Having said that, I'm not trying to look for trouble here. Let's just hope that these sharks have moved back out to sea and that they don't end up suddenly jumping on anything and most important of all, anyONE.
John Wasserman
July 19, 2016, 5:37 pm
Jim C. from Queens says:
This is garbage. Journalism such as this only contributes to unnecessary fear mongering and, ultimately, more dead sharks. Only after referring to "swimming killing machines" does the author note that actually, basking sharks are completely harmless to humans. And the comment above about dangers to boats is ridiculous. Please.
July 20, 2016, 9:23 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
Hi Jim C. John Wasserman.
Now, who's being naïve here?
As you can see from the home movie (located below) these sharks do pose quite a threat to both man and vessel. Unfortunately, the rest of the film was lost in a fire, but let's just say that this did not end well.
John Wasserman
July 20, 2016, 12:42 pm
Melly from Queens says:
Regardless...they are SHARKS!!!!
July 20, 2016, 12:45 pm

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