DEM taking steps to monitor sharks off RI coast

South County

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Swimming was back to normal for the Fourth of July. However, the day before, swimmers were only allowed in waist deep after someone reported seeing a fin in the water.

While no shark was spotted in this instance, the Department of Environmental Management told Eyewitness News it takes reports of possible shark sightings seriously and it’s working to monitor the big fish more closely.

A fisherman told Eyewitness News he spotted a shark about 40 miles offshore Thursday.

“It was just a big fin in the water. We thought it was a dolphin at first until they started circling the boat,” said Coy Grubb, of Knoxville, Tenn. “We were trawling for tuna at the time and we started back in an he was just beside the boat and we took a picture of him. We went back to circle him but he was gone.”

Officials on the Cape have been dealing with an increase in shark sightings there for several years. Now, DEM spokesman Michael Healey said the agency is planning to begin tagging and tracking sharks in the waters off Rhode Island to ensure the safety of beachgoers and to get a better understanding of shark migratory patterns.

“We need to build a monitoring system to better protect people and that’s what we’re doing. We’re at the very early stages,” We’re all using the same ocean. We nee to be vigilant and we need to respond, certainly, to these shark sightings. But, this is kind of a fact of life.”

Anyone who spots a fin or shark at the beach is urged to get out of the water immediately and alert a lifeguard.

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