A roughly five-foot-long, 50 lb. juvenile Thresher shark was pulled from the ocean at Main Beach in East Hampton just before the start of the annual ocean lifeguard tournament on Thursday, July 19.
The shark, which was headless, was seen floating in the surf at about 4 PM, when volunteer organizers of the event decided to haul it in for good measure before the seven-event tournament got underway.
Steve Brierly, co-manager of the Amagansett Beach Association, said the dead shark had been floating around in the surf and he tried to retrieve it, unsuccessfully at first, before hauling it onto land.
“We thought the best thing to do was to take it in before someone swam into it,” he said.
The shark’s carcass, which had exposed bones, posed no physical threat to swimmers, only that the sight of it could have caused a scare, Brierly explained.
The shark, Brierly theorized, could have lost its head from swimming into a boat propeller, or could have been caught and released by fishermen, or was injured in some way before scavengers began to devour its carcass. After being dragged up the beach, the shark was placed in the back of a truck and driven to the East Hampton Village dump.
There have not been any shark sightings on the beach recently, though Brierly did note there was a report of a shark sighting farther west, near Moniebogue Bay in Westhampton, about one month ago.
Sharks have grabbed headlines in recent weeks as sightings along ocean beaches on Long Island and New Jersey have continued. A day earlier, on Wednesday, July 18, a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy were bitten in separate shark attacks. The first attack was in Atlantique and the second, in Sailor’s Haven, both on Fire Island, according to published reports.
The bite marks are being analyzed to determine what kind of sharks bit the youngsters. Marine biologists have theorized the sharks were drawn to the area this time of year to feed, enticed by the increased schools of fish and pods of dolphin.