July 10, 2023
New York is expanding its fleet of shark-monitoring drones, amid reports of rising attacks.
The state will reportedly spend up to $1 million to deploy as many as 42 new drones, according to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the drones would be sent to communities living in Long Island Beach, New York City and Westchester County.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation have increased surveillance over the waters in response to an uptick in shark sightings over the Fourth of July holiday, with a reported five attacks over the holiday weekend.
"Ahead of the busy summer season, we developed new tools and strategies to monitor marine wildlife and protect the health and safety of New Yorkers,” said Hochul. “These new drones will increase the shark monitoring capacity of local governments across Long Island and New York City, ensuring local beaches are safe for all beachgoers."
Funding to train local personnel in drone operation will also be provided, though exact dates of when the project will commence have not yet been released.
The latest announcement follows Hochul’s enhanced shark monitoring measures, which were introduced in May in response to rising shark sightings last year. These measures included adding 10 additional drones to the eight already in operation to sweep the beach for shark activity.
One new drone assigned to Park Police is fitted with thermal imaging, laser range finding and high-quality cameras that enable surveillance at night and during bad weather. This drone can also drop personal flotation devices in emergency situations
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