Metrofocus: August 8, 2022

Encore: September 01, 2022

SHARKS OF NEW YORK:  WHAT’S DRIVING THE SURGE IN ATTACKS AND SIGHTINGS THIS SUMMER

Shark week is turning into shark summer after at least six people suffered apparent bites off Long Island, leaving many Tri-State beachgoers fearful of the water.  Scientists say this increased shark activity could be our new normal but that’s also not a bad thing.  More sharks can indicate a healthier ocean and there is groundbreaking research underway in our area to catch, track and better understand these misunderstood predators of the deep.  For the latest on these efforts and how to stay safe this summer we’re joined by Frank Quevedo, executive director of South Fork Natural History Museum, which oversees a shark research and education program; Greg Metzger, the program’s field coordinator who has caught and tagged hundreds of sharks; and Lt. Brian Matteo, a member of the New York State Park Police’s marine unit that’s patrolling for sharks this summer.

For more information on the shark research and educational programs, click here.

TRANSCRIPT

> WHAT'S DRIVING THE SURGE?

SHARK ATTACKS AT NEW YORK BEACHES?

HOW TO STAY SAFE IN THE WATER THIS SUMMER AND WATCH AS RESEARCHERS CATCH AND TRACK THESE OCEAN PREDATORS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THEM.

'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY --

> GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

SO SHARK WEEK HAS TURNED INTO SHARK SUMMER AFTER AT LEAST SIX PEOPLE SUFFER APPARENT BITES OFF LONG ISLAND, LEAVING MANY TRISTATE BEACHGOERS FEARFUL OF THE WATER.

A SMALL DEAD GREAT WHITE SHARK RECENTLY WASHED UP ON SHORE, FUELING ANXIETY ABOUT WHAT EXACTLY IS LURKING OFF THE COAST.

IN RESPONSE, GOVERNOR HOCHUL ASKED STATE AGENCIES TO INCREASE PATROLS AND LIFE GUARD STAFFING.

RESEARCHERS SAY THIS SHARK ACTIVITY COULD BE OUR NEW NORMAL BUT ALSO SAY THAT'S NOT NECESSARILY A BAD THING.

MORE SHARKS INDICATE A HEALTHIER OCEAN, AND THERE'S GROUND BREAKING RESEARCH UNDER WAY IN OUR AREA TO CATCH AND TRACK THESE OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD PREDATORS.

FOR THE LATEST ON THESE EFFORTS NOW, AND THE RECENT ENCOUNTERS AND HOW TO STAY SAFE THIS SUMMER, WE ARE JOINED BY OUR GUESTS.

FIRST WE HAVE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SOUTH FORK NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, OR SOFO.

IN ADDITION WE HAVE BRAD METZGER WITH US ON HIS BOAT JUST OFF THE WATER, THE FIELD COORDINATOR FOR THE PROGRAM WHO'S GOTTEN TO TAG HUNDRED OF SHARKS AS PART OF THE RESEARCH.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED BY THE LIEUTENANT OF THE UNIT TASKED WITH LOOKING OUT FOR THESE PREDATORS.

THANKS FOR HAVING US.

THERE'S A LOT I WANT TO TALK ABOUT HERE.

FRANK, LET ME START WITH YOU IF I CAN.

THIS GOES BACK TO WHAT I SAID IN THE INTRODUCTION, AND THAT IS THAT IT MIGHT SOUND UNUSUAL FOR PEOPLE TO HEAR THAT THIS INCREASED SHARK ACTIVITY COULD SIGNAL A GOOD THING.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY THAT?

WELL, YOU KNOW, FOR MANY YEARS, THE CONSERVATION EFFORTS OVER THE LAST DECADE OR TWO HAS BEEN TO PROTECT OCEAN ANIMALS LIKE SHARKS AND STRIPED BASS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THE FOOD SOURCE FOR A LOT OF MARINE ANIMALS, THE ATLANTIC -- AND IN 2019 GOVERNOR CUOMO SIGNED A BILL TO PROTECT THE ATLANTIC MENHAYDEN FROM FISHING TECHNIQUES, AND WHAT THAT HAS DONE IS WE'RE SEEING A RESURGENCE.

IT'S BEEN REFERRED TO AS THE MOST IMPORTANT FISH IN THE OCEAN.

WHY IS THAT?

EXPLAIN THAT.

IT FEEDS ALL MARINE LIFE THAT INHABITS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN, FROM EAGLES AND OSPREYS TO WHALES AND SHARJS WHEN YOU PROTECT A FOOD SOURCE THAT'S VARIETY AND IMPORTANT TO THE ECOSYSTEM YOU SEE A RESURGENCE AND INCREASE IN POPULATION IN A LOT OF MARINE LIFE.

WE'RE SEEING POP LAS VEGASS IN SHARKS INCREASING BECAUSE WE'RE SEEING AN INCREASE IN THEIR FOOD SOURCE.

WHEN PEOPLE GO TO THE BEACH THEY'RE CONSTANTLY SEEING WHALES AND DOLPHINS PRETTY CLOSE SHORE THAT ARE ALSO TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THAT FOOD SOURCE.

THIS IS A BENEFIT OF ALL THE EFFORTS IN THE PAST FEW YEARS TO PROTECT AND MAKE THAT OCEAN VERY HEALTHY, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE SEEING NOW.

LET ME ASK YOU ANOTHER QUESTION TO SET THE STAGE FOR ALL OF THIS CONVERSATION.

I INDICATED IN THE INTRODUCTION THAT THERE ARE MISPERCEPTIONS OUT THERE ABOUT SHARKS AND WHAT WE THINK ABOUT THEM.

GIVE ME A SENSE -- YOU HAVE SPENT SO MUCH OF YOUR TIME DOING THIS RESEARCH AND TRYING TO EDUCATE PEOPLE.

GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF SOME OF THE SIGNIFICANT MISPERCEPTIONS AND WHAT THE TRUTHS ARE.

SHARKS ARE ONE OF THE TOP OCEAN PREDATORS IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, AND SHARKS PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE FOOD WEB, AND WHAT REALLY IS IMPORTANT IS THEY HELP ENSURE THE BALANCE OF THE ECOSYSTEM OR OCEAN'S ECOSYSTEM.

WITHOUT SHARKS, WITHOUT TOP PREDATORS ON THE PLANET, WE SEE A CRASH IN THAT PARTICULAR ECOSYSTEM THEY CONTROL.

THEY'RE BALANCE KEEPERS OF THE ENVIRONMENT.

SO I THINK THE MISPERCEPTION HERE IS THAT PREDATORS ARE NOT WANTED BECAUSE THEY'RE DANGEROUS TO PEOPLE, DANGEROUS TO PETS.

YOU KNOW, BEARS AND MOUNTAIN LION OR BOB CATS ARE IN THE AREA.

THESE PREDATORS PLAY A ROLE IN BALANCING THE ECOSYSTEM, KEEPING IT HEALTHY.

THEY CONTROL SICK AND DISEASE ANIMALS THAT THEY EAT.

WITHOUT THESE PREDATORS, WE SEE AN ECOLOGICAL CRASH IN THE ENVIRONMENT.

SO WE NEED APEX PREDATORS ON THE PLANET.

LAST QUESTION TO YOU, FRANK, THEN I WANT TO COME TO GREG.

AND THAT IS THIS TAGGING SYSTEM, THIS ABILITY TO TRY AND ESTABLISH A FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH.

EXPLAIN TO US HOW THAT WORKS AND WHAT YOU HOPE TO GLEAN FROM THAT INFORMATION.

YEAH, SO THE SOUTH FORK NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM SHARK RESEARCH AND EDUCATION PROGRAM, THE MISSION HERE IS TO EDUCATE PEOPLE, TO ENHANCE STEWARDSHIP OF LONG ISLAND SHARK COMMUNITY THROUGH RESEARCH, DATA SHARING AND MARINE RESOURCE MANAGERS AND EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THEIR SHARKS' IMPORTANT ECOLOGICAL ROLES.

SO, OUR JOB AS THE SOUTH FORK RESEARCH PROGRAM IS TO SUSTAIN THESE SHARK SPECIES, TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THEM, AND THE ONLY WAY WE CAN DO THAT IS HAVING GREG AND CREW OUT IN THE FIELD AS SCIENTISTS, COLLECTING AS MUCH DATA AS WE CAN, BECAUSE WITH THIS DATA, IT TELLS THE STORY, IT GIVES US INFORMATION ABOUT THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE ANIMAL.

IT TELL US HOW THE ANIMALS UTILIZE THE HABITAT TOGETHER.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY THIS INFORMATION IS GIVEN TO THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY AND MARINE RESOURCE MANAGERS SO THEY CAN MAKE THE DECISIONS AND GUIDELINES AND RESTRICTIONS TO HELP SUSTAIN THESE ANIMALS.

SO THAT'S OUR JOB.

THAT'S OUR ROLE WITH THE SHARK RESEARCH AND EDUCATION PROGRAM.

SO, GREG, LET'S BRING YOU NOW INTO THE CONVERSATION.

YOU'RE THE GUY WHO'S OUT ON THE WATER A COUPLE DAYS A WEEK TAGGING THESE SHARKS.

MOST DAYS A WEEK.

MOST DAYS A WEEK, ALL RIGHT.

WE'RE ON ALMOST A TWO-WEEK RUN HERE.

THE WEATHER'S BEEN GOOD TO US.

I'M AN OLD ATLANTIC OCEAN BEACH LIFE GUARD.

A LONG TIME AGO, HAVING SEEN SOME THING OUT IN THE WATER WITH BINOCULARS.

THE NOTION OF FINDING AND TAGGING SHARKS TO ME IS FASCINATING.

HOW DO YOU FIND THEM, AND HOW DO YOU TAG THEM?

YEAH, SO BASICALLY WE'RE TARGETING TWO THINGS -- WATER TEMPERATURE AND THE BUNKER SCHOOLS.

AS FRANK POINTED OUT, IT'S REALLY THE RESURGENCE IN THE PREY ITEMS, PRIMARY TLI ATLANTIC MENHADEN THAT ARE BRINGING THE SHARKS TO OUR WATERS.

WE ALWAYS HAVE SHARKS IN OUR WATER THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, BUT THE TYPE OF SHARK, THE SPECIES CHANGES.

PRIMARILY THE SPECIES WE'RE INTERESTED IN FOR ALL THE COLLABORATORS WE WORK WITH ARE THE SHARKS FOUND IN OUR WATERS DURING THE SUMMERTIME.

SO THAT'S WHAT WE TARGET IS WATER TEMPERATURE AND FOOD SOURCES.

AND WHICH ARE THOSE SHARKS.

I KNOW THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPE OF SHARKS, BUT WHICH ARE THE SHARKS YOU'RE SEEING IN OUR WATER DURING THE SUMMER TIME?

TYPICALLY, CONSISTENTLY YEAR AFTER YEAR WE SEE IN THE EARLY -- WHEN THE WATER'S A LITTLE COOLER IT WOULD BE BLUE SHARKS.

AND THEN AS THE WATER STARTS TO WARM UP, WE'LL SEE SAND BAR SHARKS, DUSKY SHARKS, THRESHER SHARKS.

WE HAVE BROUGHT ON A RECENT COLLABORATOR WITH STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY, SO THEY'VE ADDED SAND TIGER SHARKS TO THE LIST.

SO, THOSE ARE THE PRIMARY SHARK SPECIES.

OUR WORK STARTED TRYING TO CATCH AND TAG YOUNG OF THE YEAR WHITE SHARKS.

YOUNG OF THE YEAR MEANS THEY'RE LESS THAN A YEAR OLD, AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT GOT THE SOFO SHARK RESEARCH PROGRAM STARTED WAS TRYING TO CATCH AND TAG THESE YOUNG OF THE YEAR WHITE SHARK.

SO THERE ARE NOT NEARLY AS MANY OF THESE BABY WHITE SHARK AS THERE ARE THE OTHER SPECIES.

THOSE ARE THE PRIMARY SPECIES WE RUN INTO.

IN THE LAST TWO YEARS WE'VE SEEN AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF SPINNER SHARKS.

SO THERE'S ABOUT SIX OR SEVEN DIFFERENT SPECIES WE TARGET AND CONSISTENTLY SEE.

I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH JUST A FEW DAYS AGO TO CATCH AND TAG A YOUNG TIGER SHARK.

THAT'S ONLY THE SECOND TIGER SHARK THAT I'VE EVER CAUGHT SINCE I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR THE TIME I HAVE BEEN DOING IT, SO I WOULD NOT ADD TIGER SHARKS TO OUR LIST THAT WE TYPICALLY SEE, ALTHOUGH IT'S NOT UNCOMMON FOR TIGER SHARKS TO BE IN OUR WATERS THIS TIME OF YEAR.

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU'VE SEEN JUST VERY RECENTLY A TIGER SHARK IN THE WATERS?

LUCKY.

I WAS JUST LUCKY.

YOU KNOW, TIGER SHARKS HISTORICALLY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CAUGHT IN LONG ISLAND WATERS.

IT'S JUST THAT THERE'S NOT A LOT OF THEM COMPARED TO THE NUMBER OF OTHER, SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, DUSKY SHARKS.

YOU KNOW, WE SEW A TREMENDOUS NUMBER OF SMALL JUVENILE DUSKY SHARKS.

THEY WERE LITERALLY SWARMING US TODAY.

WE HAD THREE AND FOUR OF THEM AROUND THE BOAT AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

SO DUSKY SHARKS IS A MUCH MORE COMMON SPECIES THAT WE SEE.

YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID, TIGER SHARKS ARE NOT -- THEY'RE NOT -- IT'S NOT AN ANOMALY THEY WERE HERE.

IT'S JUST NOT IN THE NUMBERS WE SEE IN THE OTHER SPECIES.

BRIAN, LET ME BRING YOU INTO THE CONVERSATION.

YOU HAVE A LOT OF RESPONSIBILITIES.

ONE OF THEM IS YOU ARE ALSO OUT ON THE WATER, AND YOU'VE GOT OTHER MEMBER OF YOUR TEAM OUT ON THE WATER.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR WHEN YOU'RE OUT ON THE WATER ON A DAILY BASIS?

BASICALLY WE'RE LOOKING FOR SCHOOL OF BUNKER FISH ALSO.

TYPICALLY YOU CAN SEE WHERE THEY ARE.

YOU'LL SEE THE FISH JUMPING OUT OF THE WATER.

BIRDS DIVING DOWN TO GET THEM.

AND WE'LL CONCENTRATE OUR EFFORTS IN LOOKING OVER THERE TO SEE IF WE SEE ANY FINS, YOU KNOW, ANY SHARKS JUMPING TO GET THE FISH OR -- YOU KNOW, OF THAT NATURE.

I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE A PERCEPTION OF MORE SHARKS OUT THERE RECENTLY.

ARE YOU -- AND BRIAN I'LL ASK YOU THIS QUESTION ALSO.

BY YOU, I MEAN YOU AND YOUR TEAM.

ARE YOU IN FACT SEEING, HAVING MORE SIGHTINGS -- THAT'S PROBABLY A BETTER WAY TO PHRASE IT.

HAVE THERE BEEN MORE SIGHTINGS OF SHARKS THAN WE HAVE SEEN IN THE PAST?

WELL, I THINK THERE HAVE BEEN MORE SIGHTINGS MORE SO THROUGH THE USE OF DRONES.

WE ARE ALSO -- OUR LIFE GUARDS AND OPERATION STAFF, THEY USE DRONES TO LOOK FOR THE SHARKS, AND THEY'RE ABLE TO GO OUT MORE OFTEN AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S EASIER FOR THEM TO SEE FROM A HIGHER DISTANCE, SO I THINK THE USE OF THAT TECHNOLOGY HAS ALLOWED US TO SEE THEM MORE, NOT TO SAY THEY WEREN'T THERE BEFORE.

WE'RE JUST NOTICING THEM A LITTLE MORE OFTEN NOW.

RIGHT, TECHNOLOGY BETTER THAN WHEN I WORKED ON THE WATER, ON THE OCEAN.

IF THERE WAS SOME SUSPICION WE'D JUMP IN THE LIFEBOAT AND ROW YOURSELF OUT.

I'M THINKING BACK NOW, MAYBE NOT SUCH A GREAT IDEA, BUT WHAT WE WERE DOING ANY WAY.

YEAH, I THINK -- IF I COULD JUST JUMP IN.

THE LIEUTENANT DID A GREAT JOB OF ARTICULATING THAT.

I HAVE BEEN ASKED THAT QUESTION A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT, AND THAT IS PART OF THE ISSUE IS EVERYBODY HAS A CELL PHONE, EVERYBODY HAS A CAMERA NOW, EVERYBODY HAS A VIDEO CAMERA, AND EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ONLINE.

SO ARE THERE MORE SHARKS IN OUR WATERS PHYSICALLY?

YES, BECAUSE OF THE POSITIVE CONSERVATION EFFORTS FRANK TALKED ABOUT EARLIER.

BUT THE PERCEPTION IS THAT THERE'S EXPONENTIALLY MORE SHARKS BECAUSE BACK IN THE DAY WHEN YOU WERE IN YOUR LIFEBOAT AND YOU SAW A SHARK, HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD YOU BE ABLE TO TELL?

MAYBE FIVE OR SIX.

ME AND THE PERSON I'M WORKING WITH, AND WHEN WE GOT BACK TO THE BEACH WE'D SIGH, GUESS WHAT WE JUST SAW.

NOW SOMEBODY ON THE BEACH TAKE A PICTURE OF IT AND INSTANTLY TOLD 100,000 PEOPLE, OR THE NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS.

YOU HAVE DRONES OUT THERE LOOKING.

YOU HAVE EXPONENTIAL NUMBER OF BOATS AND LIFE GUARDS.

EVERYBODY'S LOOKING FOR SHARKS SO SK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE MORE SHARKS.

THESE SHARKS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE.

IT'S JUST NOW PEOPLE ARE NOTICING AND HAVE ACCESS THE SHARING EVERY SHARK SIGHTING.

FRANK, BACK TO YOU.

I'VE SEEN YOU MENTION THIS BEFORE, AND THAT IS THAT THE TERMINOLOGY IS IMPORTANT.

THE WORDS WE USE HERE ARE IMPORTANT.

YOU CAN SAY THAT ABOUT ANY BUSINESS, BUT CERTAINLY HERE.

AND A COUPLE OF INSTANCES YOU TALK ABOUT IS THE NOTION OF USING THE WORD INTERACTIONS AS OPPOSED TO SAYING SHARK ATTACKS -- SHARK INTERACTIONS.

YOU ALSO MENTION, FOR INSTANCE, THAT YOU PREFER NOT TO USE THE TERM GREAT WHITE SHARKS, BUT WHITE SHARKS.

LET'S START WITH THE IDEA, THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ATTACKS AND INTERACTIONS.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT?

THAT'S IMPORTANT BECAUSE THE SHARK'S NOT HERE TO ATTACK PEOPLE.

THEY'RE HERE TO FEED ON THE ABUNDANCE OF THE FOOD SOURCE THAT'S AVAILABLE TO THEM.

SO WHEN YOU HAVE A LARGE POPULATION OF SHARKS AND A FOOD SOURCE THAT'S CLOSE TO THE BEACH, AND WHEN PEOPLE ARE GOING TO THE BEACH, WHEN SHARKS ARE FEEDING ON THAT FOOD SOURCE, THERE'S GOING TO BE MORE INTERACTIONS THAT TAKE PLACE.

IF THESE WERE ATTACK, PEOPLE WOULD BE BLEEDING TO DEATH AND PEOPLE WOULD BE LOSING LIMBS, BITES ON THEIR ANKLES.

WHEN SHARKS ARE FEEDING, HAVING A FEEDING FRENZY CLOSE TO THE BEACH, THEY'RE DOING WHATEVER THEY CAN TO KNOCK OTHER COMPETITORS AWAY.

IF SOMEBODY'S WALKING IN THE WATER WHERE SHARKS ARE FEEDING ON BAIT FISH, THE SHARK'S ONLY WAY OF FEEDING ON THAT FOOD SOURCE IS TO EXACT WITH SOMEBODY WALKING IN THE WATER, AND A LITTLE NIBBLE WITH HAPPEN.

AND THE SHARKS' TEETH ARE VERY SHARP.

THEY'VE EVOLVED TO EAT MEAT, SO THEY'LL GET LACERATIONED.

THESE ARE INTERACTIONS NOT ATTACKS TO ME.

BETTER WAY OF LOOKING AT IT IS THE SHARK SAYING, YOU'RE IN THE WAY OF MY FOOD.

LET ME GET YOU OUT OF THE WAY, RATHER THAN YOU ARE NOW MY FOOD.

EXACTLY.

THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S HAPPENING.

THESE SHARKS, YOU KNOW, ARE REALLY WORKING HARD TO FIND FOOD.

IT'S VERY HARD TO FIND FOOD AND EAT FOOD FOR A SHARK, AND FOR ANY ANIMAL IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, SO WHENEVER THERE'S AN INSTANCE WHEN THEY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO FEED ON A FOOD SOURCE, THEY'RE GOING TO DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO TAKE A BITE OUT OF ANY FISH OR ANYTHING THAT'S IN THEIR WAY.

WHAT ABOUT THE NOTION OF WHITE SHARK OPPOSED TO GREAT WHITE SHARK.

WELL, WHEN PEOPLE SAY GREAT WHITE SHARK, IT KIND OF ALERTS PEOPLE THAT THERE'S DANGER SOMEWHERE.

YOU KNOW, IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, THE SCIENTISTS CALL WHITE SHARKS WHITE SHARKS.

YOU KNOW, THEY'RE NOT GREAT WHITE SHARKS.

GREAT WHITE SHARKS HAS BEEN CREATED OVER THE YEARS SINCE 'JAWS' CAME OUT IN THE '70s, AND GREAT WHITE SHARK CREATE A STIMULATION AND APPEAL TO PEOPLE TO BE ATTRACTED TO A WHITE SHARK SPECIES WHEN YOU CALL IT A GREAT WHITE SHARK RATHER THAN A WHITE SHARK.

GREG, WALK ME THROUGH HOW YOU ACTUALLY GO ABOUT TAGGING A SHARK.

MOST PEOPLE THINKING THAT'S, LIKE, THE PUNCH LINE FOR A VERY BAD JOKE.

WHAT'S YOUR JOB?

I TAG SHARKS FOR A LIVING.

SO EXPLAIN TO US HOW PHYSICALLY YOU DO THAT.

YEAH, SO, WE HAVE PLAYED AROUND WITH VARIOUS TECHNIQUES THAT ARE USED IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY TO CATCH SHARKS.

WHAT I FOUND IS TRADITIONAL ROD AND REEL SEEMS TO BE THE MOST PRODUCTIVE WAY OF CATCHING SHARKS.

SO IT WOULD BE TRADITIONAL SHARK FISHING.

WE PUT CHUM IN THE WATER TO TRY TO ATTRACT THE SHARKS FROM THE AREA TO OUR BOATS.

WE HAVE BAIT, PRIMARILY THE ATLANTIC MENHADEN.

ONCE THE SHARK TAKES THE BAIT, WE REEL IT IN.

AND ONCE IT GETS CLOSE TO THE BOAT, WE THEN SECURE IT WITH A TAIL ROPE.

SO WE SECURE ITS HEAD WITH A HOOK AND A LINE AND PUT A ROPE AROUND ITS TAIL TO SECURE IT.

WE KEEP THE ANIMALS IN THE WATER ALONGSIDE THE VESSEL, SO THAT WAY THEY STAY OXYGENATED.

FROM THERE, WE TAKE A WHOLE SWEEP OF MEASUREMENTS AND VARIOUS SAMPLES.

WE TYPICALLY START WITH MEASUREMENTS.

SO WE TAKE FOUR MEASUREMENTS.

YOU KNOW, BASICALLY THE LENGTH.

WE TAKE THREE DIFFERENT LENGTHS ON THE SHARK, GIRTH, WHICH IS THE FATTEST DISTANCE AROUND.

WE DETERMINE THE SPECIES OF THE SHARK, THE SEX OF THE SHARK, AND THEN THERE'S A SMALL MUSCLE BIOPSY THAT'S TAKEN.

SMALL INCISION MADE AND WE TAKE OUT A PIECE OF MUSCLE BIOPSY.

WE TAKE A SMALL VIAL OF BLOOD.

WE TAKE A FIN TIP, TAKE SCISSORS AND CUT OFF THE TIP OF ONE A THEIR FINS.

DEPENDING ON THE SPEE SIS AND SIZE, WE HAVE A VARIETY OF TAGS AT OUR DISPOSAL TO PUT ON OR IN THE ANIMAL.

THESE PROCESSES YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT DON'T HAVE SUCH A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE ANIMAL, ON THE SHARK THAT THEY'RE NOW GOING TO BE HANDICAPPED IN SOME FASHION.

YEAH, THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

WE GET THAT A LOT, BECAUSE WE ARE MAKING INCISIONS, INSERTING THINGS.

SO WE GET THE QUESTION, WELL, DOES THAT HURT THE SHARK?

AND I SAY BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE AND UNDERSTANDING OF SHARKS, WHAT WE'RE DOING TO THEM IS MINOR COMPARED TO WHAT THEIR PREY ITEMS MIGHT DO TO THEM.

I FOUND SHARKS WITH GIANT STING RAY BARBS IN THEIR FACE OR PROTRUING FROM THEIR STOMACH.

MATING FOR SHARKS, I WON'T GO INTO DETAIL, BUT I'LL SAY THE SKIN ON FEMALE SHARKS FOR FEMALES IS TWICE AS THICK AS MALES, BECAUSE THE MALES HAVE TO BITE THE FEMALES IN ORDER TO REPRODUCE WITH THEM.

WHAT THEY DO TO EACH OTHER IS MINOR TO WHAT WE DO TO THEM.

BUT THE REWARD OF THOSE MINOR INJURIES THAT WE GIVE THEM IS TREMENDOUS, AS FRANK LAID OUT.

BRIAN, AS PART OF YOUR WORK -- YOU TALKED ABOUT THE WORK WITH LIFE GUARDS, BEACH PERSONNEL.

I SUSPECT THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU ALREADY, BUT IF IT HASN'T, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEBODY WHO COMES UP TO YOU AND SAYS, LIEUTENANT, I LOVE SWIMMING IN THE OCEAN AND ON THESE BEACHES BUT I'M KIND OF WORRIED ABOUT THESE STORIES THAT I'M HEARING AND WORRIED ABOUT HOW I SHOULD GO ABOUT MY SWIMMING.

WHAT SORT OF ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE THAT PERSON?

I WOULD TELL THEM TO KEEP SWIMMING.

BUT IF YOU -- TO AVOID AREAS THAT HAVE SCHOOLS OF BAIT FISH IN THEM, YOU KNOW, DON'T SWIM WITH THOSE, BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE THE SHARKS WOULD BE IF THEY'RE THERE.

AND YOU CAN TELL THAT BY WATCHING THE FISH JUMPING OUT OF THE WATER.

YOU KNOW, STAY OUT OF THE OCEAN BETWEEN DUSK AND DAWN AND NIGHTTIME.

TRY TO SWIM WITH OTHER PEOPLE.

YOU KNOW, OPPOSED TO BY YOURSELF.

IF YOU'RE A BIGGER GROUP, YOU KNOW, THE SHARKS WOULD BE MAYBE START GOING SOME PLACE ELSE AS OPPOSED TO TRYING TO FEED WHERE YOU ARE.

AND MOST OF ALL, JUST FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS OF THE PARK STAFF AND THE LIFE GUARDS AND ANY SIGNS THAT THEY HAVE OUT.

IF THEY'RE TELLING YOU, DON'T GO IN THE WATER, THEN DON'T GO IN THE WATER.

FRANK, LET ME COME BACK TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING HERE.

WE'VE SEEN SUGGESTIONS THAT PERHAPS WITH AN INCREASED SHARK PRESENCE, MIGHT WE WANT TO DO THINGS -- AND THIT THEY TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY DO ON BEACHES IN AUSTRALIA, PUTTING NETS OUT THERE THAT ARE PROTECTIVE.

ARE THOSE SUGGESTIONS EITHER REASONABLE, OR WOULD THEY BE EFFECTIVE?

TOTALLY UNREASONABLE.

YOU KNOW.

YOU KNOW, TO PUT A FENCE UP IN AN AREA WHERE SHARKS ARE UTILIZING THE AREA TO SUSTAIN THEIR LIFE CYCLE IS JUST A -- IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT I WOULD EVER, EVER SUGGEST YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT HERE IS THAT WE'RE SEEING, YOU KNOW, THE BENEFITS OF CONSERVATION HERE, AND WE SHOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATING THE FACT THAT MARINE ECOSYSTEM'S THRIVING AT THE MOMENT.

WHY WOULD WE DO ANYTHING TO PROHIBIT THAT IN THE FUTURE?

JUST FOR PEOPLE TO GET IN THE WATER AND ENJOY IT RECREATIONLY?

WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT PARTICULAR HABITAT IS NOT OUR HABITAT.

THE IT'S SHARK'S HABITAT, AND WE SHOULD BE REALLY APPRECIATIVE OF WHAT WE'RE SEEING NOW IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT.

IT'S REALLY AN INCREDIBLE STORY, AND I HOPE IT CONTINUES AND IS SUSTAINABLE FOR MANY YEARS TO COME.

IF I COULD JUST --

GO AHEAD, GREG.

IF I COULD JUMP IN A LITTLE BIT THERE.

JUST TO KIND OF STEP BACK AND PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE.

GENERALLY, PEOPLE PROBABLY START SWIMMING ALONG THE SOUTH SHORE OF LONG ISLAND, I WOULD SAY END OF MAY.

AND WHAT ARE WE AT?

FIRST WEEK IN AUGUST.

SO, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEEN IN THE WATER BETWEEN MID-MAY AND TODAY?

AND IT'S NOT JUST THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS AT THE BEACH.

ONE INDIVIDUAL COULD GO IN THE WATER AND COME OUT OF THE WATER AND GO BACK IN THE WATER MULTIPLE TIMES DURING THEIR STAY AT THE BEACH.

SO EVERY TIME ONE OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE GONE IN THE WATER BETWEEN MID-MAY AND TODAY, THEY HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE A NEGATIVE INTERACTION WITH A SHARK.

IT'S PROBABLY TENS OF MILLIONS OF OPPORTUNITIES, AND OUT OF TENS OF MILLIONS OF OPPORTUNITIES, SIX OF THOSE OPPORTUNITIES WENT BAD.

NOW, IT'S VERY UNFORTUNATE.

I WOULDN'T WISH ILL WILL OR HARM ON ANYBODY, BUT IF YOU JUST STEP BACK AND TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT ALL OF THIS CRAZE IS ABOUT, IT'S SIX INTERACTIONS OUT OF MILLIONS OF POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITIES.

THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

LET ME -- I'VE GOT ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF LEFT, A LITTLE BIT MORE THAN THAT.

SO, FRANK, LET ME COME TO YOU AND ASK YOU A SIMILAR QUESTION TO THE ONE I ASKED TO BRIAN.

AND THAT IS, TO THE PERSON WHO SAYS TO YOU, WOW, I UNDERSTAND THIS IS WHAT YOU DO, YOU DO RESEARCH ON SHARKS AND YOU STUDY THEM AND YOU PROJECT IN TERMS OF THEIR PRESENCE AND WHAT THEY DO IN TERMS OF THE ECOSYSTEM.

IF THEY SAID TO YOU -- A LITTLE DIFFERENT FROM THE QUESTION TO BRIAN.

THE THEY SAID TO YOU, WHY IS ALL THIS IMPORTANT TO ME?

WHAT WOULD YOUR ANSWER BE?

WELL, AS A SCIENTIST, AS A BIOLOGIST, AS A LEAD THAT EDUCATES THE COMMUNITY, IT'S IMPORTANT TO FULFILL THE AWARENESS OUR PROGRAM IS -- IT'S STEWARDSHIP.

WHEN I HAVE TO OPPORTUNITY TO INFORM THE COMMUNITY ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, IT'S MY JOB AS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THIS MUSEUM TO CREATE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE AND APPRECIATE THE ENVIRONMENT, THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT.

IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO ME.

AND DO FOLKS HAVE -- QUICKLY, CAN FOLKS GET ACCESS, GET IN THERE AND LEARN FIRSTHAND LEARNING PROCESS FOR WHAT YOU'RE TEACHING?

ABSOLUTELY.

WE KIND OF -- WE'RE DIVERSIFIED.

WE TEACH ABOUT EVERY ASPECT OF THE NATURAL WORLD.

WE TOOK OVER THIS INITIATIVE IN 2018, AND IT'S BEEN SUCH A SUCCESS THANKS TO GREG AND HIS TEAM AND JUST THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WE HAVE IN CREATING INFORMATION ABOUT SUSTAINING SHARK SPECIES.

AND IT IS VERY, VERY INFORMATIVE AND REWARDING TO LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT WE'RE DOING.

BEHIND ME IS OUR SHARK EXHIBIT THAT WE HAVE.

IT'S AN INTERACTIVE SHARK EXHIBIT WHERE CHILDREN AND ADULTS CAN COME AND LEARN ALL STUFF SHARK RELATED.

I GOT TO TELL YOU, THIS HAS BEEN A FASCINATING CONVERSATION.

CERTAINLY FOR ME, AND I AM SURE FOR OUR VIEWERS.

FRANK, GREG, BRIAN, THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME AND HELPING US TO BETTER UNDERSTAND ALL THIS.

YOU'RE ALL DOING WONDERFUL WORK OUT THERE.

THIS CAN SO MUCH.

YOU ALL BE WELL.

THANK YOU, YOU TOO.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

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