Reports filtering in about a shark nursery operating off the coast of the Hamptons raised alarms throughout the region last week.
“Not only is it disturbing to realize there’s a shark nursery in operation so close by,” said concerned citizen Rhondda Haifisch, “but you have to wonder what the conditions there are like.”
Haifisch and others recently organized of a protest and signature drive designed to pressure authorities into looking into the legalities of having a shark nursery in close proximity to bathing beaches.
“We believe that if the authorities look into it,” Haifisch said, “they will find that situating a shark nursery where it is currently located is a danger, both to beachgoers and to sharks. It should never have been allowed to happen.”
For their part, authorities admitted that the existence of the shark nursery came as a surprise to them, and that it was as yet unclear whether the law forbids running such an operation so close to shore.
“The sharks definitely did not check with us, if that’s what you’re asking,” said Hugh Powell, a spokesman for the Hamptons Department of Animal Welfare. “At this point, the shark nursery appears to be operating without any kind of regulatory oversight.”
Powell pointed out that any efforts to check on the conditions at the nursery were “fraught with peril,” and that his agency would have to rely on visual inspections undertaken at a distance. As to shutting down the shark nursery, Powell was not encouraging.
Officials have left a notice requesting compliance to laws and licensing near the nursery, but could not confirm that it had been read by any of the sharks.
“Once these things are in place, it’s very hard for us to stop them,” Powell said, showing a lack of optimism about the situation.