All Shark and No Bite on NJ Beaches - NBC 10 Philadelphia

All Shark and No Bite on NJ Beaches

NJ beaches closed after sharks spotted off shore



    In Tom's River and Seaside Park swimmers and lifeguards are on high alert after at least two sharks were seen near the beach. (Published Thursday, July 15, 2010)

    Lifeguards in two New Jersey towns told swimmers to get out of the water after receiving reports that two sharks were close to shore.

    Seaside Park Beach Patrol chief Joe Gomulka says the two 5-foot sharks were first spotted at about 10 a.m. Wednesday.

    "(Wednesday's) was a true shark right off shore," Gomulka told NBC Philadelphia's Doug Shimell.

    "We're hoping they'll just keep going north," Gomulka told the Asbury Park Press. "Our concern is keeping the surfers out of the water, and people are being kept out until we know they are out of the water."

    The sharks also were seen on Monday near Ocean Beach on the barrier island of Toms River. Police Chief Michael Mastronardy says swimmers were asked to get out of the water for about an hour and the sharks haven't been seen since.

    No one could confirm the type of sharks, but Jim Hutchinson Jr. of the Recreational Fishing Alliance in New Gretna said that the smooth dogfish shark is the most common in the Atlantic waters off New Jersey. Its also known as a sand shark and it has no teeth.

    Other sharks that could have been spotted are the large thresher sharks, dusky sharks, great whites and sand tiger sharks, Hutchinson said.

    “In our waters, pretty much the only time you'd be bitten is by accident, if the shark thinks you're a small bait fish," Hutchinson said. "I don't think it should be anything to keep people from the water."

    Coast Guard officials said that they have no jurisdiction over the local beaches. The local police would have to make the decision to shut down the beaches.