62 shark sightings in 5 hours keep lifesavers busy
Update 5.29pm: WHILE aerial patrols have finished for the day, pingers are detecting sharks nearby at Sharpes Beach at Ballina.
There have been three detections, with one of the detections recorded as a bull shark.
Update 11.10am: LIGHTHOUSE Beach at Ballina has been evacuated and closed after the DPI aerial patrol spotted a two bull sharks of more than 2 metres off the beach.
Update 10.47am: Wategos Beach has been closed and the beach evacuated after 17 sharks were sighted by the DPI aerial patrol.
A bull sharks and 16 x 2.1m Common Blacktip sharks were identified by the DPI off the beach.
Update 10.20am: Sightings of sharks continue along the coast
- 2.5m Whaler Shark at Casuarina,Tweed at 10:09 am.
- 5 x 2.2m Common Blacktip at Casuarina, Tweed at 10:08 am today. Authorities notified and beach closed
- 8 x 2.3m Common Blacktip at South Kingscliff at 10:07 am. Authorities notified and beach closed
- 2 x 2m Common Blacktip at Dreamtime/ Kingscliff /Cudgen at 09:59 am
- 2 x 2m Bull Shark at Dreamtime, Tweed at 09:56 am. Beach evacuated and authorities notified
- 2m Whaler Shark at Dreamtime, Tweed at 09:54 am
- 2m Common Blacktip at Fingal Headland at 09:11 am
- 8 x 2.5m Common Blacktip at Fingal Headland at 09:07 am
- 2 x 2.4m Common Blacktip at South Kingscliff at 09:01 am
Update 9.45am: ALL beaches between Brunswick Heads and Fingal are closed due to the presence of sharks.
Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Jimmy Keough said the Department of Primary Industries has been conducting aerial patrols of the Far North Coast northern region and they have reported numerous sharks close to shore.
Mr Keough said the situation was being closely monitored by Surf Lifesaving and the DPI and beaches would reopen once they were deemed safe.
He said there were considerable amounts of bait fish close to shore at Wooyung, Pottsville and Hastings Point attracting sharks.
At least one visitor to the region was today shocked to learn he and friends had been swimming at beaches that may have been closed.
Bryce Johns, visiting from Brisbane with a group of six New Zealand friends, said the group had spent a couple of hours in the water around Brunswick Heads and Ocean Shores.
''We were at an unpatrolled beach and were surprised there was no one else out and about in the water on such a beautiful day.
''We had the boogie boards out and rode some great waves.''
But to learn this morning beaches were closed, and sharks had been present, shocked the group.
''That's bloody scary. How were we supposed to know?'' Mr Johns said.
Whilst unpatrolled, less populated beaches are patrolled by aerial surveillance. The DPI aerial patrol aircraft is fitted with a loud siren that can be sounded as a warning to people in the water if a shark is in close proximity to them. They also have a PA system to make a broadcast if necessary.
Mr Keough said they have already activated the siren to warn people of the danger, and people followed direction, removing themselves from the water.
Twenty-five beaches from Brooms Head to the QLD border are being patrolled by Surf Lifesavers and lifeguards during the school holidays.
Mr Keough urged the public to follow the direction of the DPI, surf lifesavers and lifeguards, swim between the flags, and pay attention to warning signs on beaches.
Evans Head Main Beach
Ballina Shire - Lighthouse Beach, Shelly Beach, Sharpes Beach, Lennox Head
Byron Shire - Suffolk Park, Tallow Beach, Main Beach, First Sun, The Pass, Wategos Beach, Broken Head
Tweed - South Pottsville, North Pottsville, Hastings Point, Cabarita, Casuarina Beach, Salt Beach, Fingal Headland and Duranbah.
You can also check the condition of your beach online and check for shark sightings on the DPI's Shark Smart site.
Original story 9.17am: SHARKS continue to be sighted by Department of Primary Industrties aerial surveillance patrols off North Coast beaches this morning.
Sharks have been spotted this morning from Wooyung in the north to Port Macquarie in the south.
At 8.39am, two 2.3m Common Blacktip shark were spotted at Wooyung, there were no swimmers or surfers in the water at the time.
Other shark sightings this morning include:
- 2.5m Common Blacktip sharks at Crabbes Creek, at 08:34 am
- 1.8m Bull shark at Brunswick Heads Inlet, at 08:31 am
- 2.1m Bull shark at Brunswick Heads, at 08:24 am
- 2.5m unidentified shark at Brunswick Heads, at 08:20 am
- 6 x 2.1m Common Blacktip sharks at Seven Mile (north), at 08:04 am
- 2.8m Bull shark at Boulders Beach, Ballina at 07:56 am
- 3m Bull shark at Backside (surf break), Ballina at 07:52 am
- 2.2m Bull shark at South Wall, Ballina at 07:43 am.
DPI aerial report: 2.2m Bull Shark at SOUTH WALL, Ballina at 07:43 am on 26 Apr 2018. No http://Swimmers.No Surfers.