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Shark sightings off New York's coast are linked to climate change, scientists say

Climate change may drive sharks to northern shores
Climate change may be driving sharks to northern shores 01:35

Repeated shark sightings off New York's Atlantic coastline are causing concerns this summer, especially after another sighting at Long Island's popular Jones Beach State Park on Thursday morning. Scientists say warming waters, caused by climate change, are helping to drive the sharks farther north.

Just a day before a shark was spotted at Jones Beach, a neighboring beach was closed after multiple sharks were seen about 20 yards off the coast.

"Our guards spotted numerous — not just one, but numerous blacktip reef sharks," said Hempstead town supervisor Don Clavin. "These are really unique sharks…they're Caribbean sharks. They're known to come close to the shoreline in feeding areas. So the concern is obviously with swimmers." 

Chris Paparo, of the South Fork National History Museum's shark research team, captured a video of sharks feeding on huge schools of fish off Southampton, New York. Paparo's team tags sharks to collect data on their patterns. 

"Climate change is definitely playing a role [...] especially in the sightings we're seeing this year and last year," Paparo said. 

"As sea temperatures are rising due to climate change, a lot of fish populations are shifting north," he added. 

Experts stress the need to continue to learn more about shark habitats and migration patterns, especially as they're now being impacted by climate change. And while shark attacks are rare, officials say vigilance for beachgoers is always important.

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