36 shark sightings in 3 days
THERE have been no less than 36 shark sightings from Yamba to Brunswick Heads in three days since Monday.
Little Wategos was evacuated on Tuesday, with a 2.5m tiger shark in proximity to swimmers, and Belongil Beach was evacuated on Monday, with a 2.2m tiger shark looming nearby.
Ballina lifeguard Jimmy Keough warned swimmers and surfers to be on guard for sharks in upcoming days.
"We have seen an increase of bait fish in the area," Mr Keough said.
"There have been mild surf conditions in the area which has drawn the fish closer to shore.
"Aerial surveillance has shown bait fish have encouraged sharks closer to shore."
Sharks have also sighted at Brunswick Heads, Tyagarah, Boulders Beach, Airforce Beach, Seven Mile Beach, Yamba, Tallows, Lighthouse Beach and Wategos since Monday.
On Monday in Tyagarah, six unidentified sharks were spotted chasing a bait ball.
The Department of Primary Industry's SharkSmart app has been releasing warnings about large schools of bait fish, along with shark sightings, to prevent shark attacks on our beaches.
Mr Keough said the DPI helicopter would continue its patrols and sound a loud siren to evacuate beaches if required.
"We are asking people to take care," he said.
Hazardous surf conditions have been forecast for the weekend, and without having an arsenal of volunteer lifeguards on patrol, local lifeguards are hoping that people exercise caution.
"We want people to stay at home, not only for their own health and wellbeing, but for the health of our members," Mr Keough said.
"If our members get sent out it does expose them to potential health risks, but we are happy to respond to whatever we are called to."
He said there was an extensive support operations group established on March 27 to patrol the area on jet skis, four-wheel-drives and with drones.
"This weekend we will be doing a high visibility patrol, liaising with police districts and local councils," he said.