By CBSNewYork Team

LIDO BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A record number of shark sightings at beaches in Nassau County this summer has prompted a new plan to warn swimmers using flags.

On Nickerson Beach, a purple flag with a shark silhouette will be hosted for 24 hours whenever someone spots a shark.

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It’s meant to tell beachgoers to use caution.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says more shark sightings were reported at Jones Beach Monday, bringing the total to 26 this summer.

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That’s six more than the entire summer last year.

According to Parks officials, some of the best ways to avoid sharks are:

  • Avoid areas where people are swimming
  • Avoid swimming as dusk
  • Swim in groups close to the shore

An abundance of bait and bunker fish are likely attracting the sharks.

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“The one thing about sharks is without sharks our whole ecosystem collapses, sharks are a sign of a healthy ecosystem,” said Christopher Paparo, Manager of Marine Sciences Center at Stonybrook University Southampton and member of the South Fork Natural History Museum’s Shark Research team. “Seeing the sharks here is a sign that our waters are getting better.”

CBSNewYork Team