Another shark scare on Byron beaches
By RACHEL AFFLICK
BYRON BAY'S Main Beach was closed yesterday after a shark jumped out of the water just metres from a surfer.
The man was paddling his board 20 metres north of the Byron Bay Surf Life Saving Club when the three-metre long shark, believed to be a Mako, launched itself above the surface.
When the man came out of the water he was visibly shaken and had to sit down.
Local surfer Nathan Taylor was in the water when the alarm went out.
"I didn't see it, but I saw everyone paddling in," Nathan said. "There were no waves and I wondered 'what are they paddling in for?'. Then someone screamed out 'shark'."
The shark could be seen for some time cruising along in shallow water towards The Wreck. An off-duty lifesaver on the beach helped to raise the alarm and evacuate people from the ocean.
This latest incident has been the 31st shark sighting on the North Coast since the beginning of October. It comes just days after surfer Craig Evans was knocked off his board by a shark at Wategos Beach.
Far North Coast Lifeguard supervisor Stephen Leahy said there seemed to be a prevalence of sharks at the moment and all sightings were taken very seriously.
Mr Leahy said sharks were probably being attracted by the large numbers of whales and bait fish in the water.
But he wants beach-goers to be alert, not alarmed. "People need to be aware there has been a prevalence of shark sightings in recent weeks," Mr Leahy said.
"If people do hear sirens or warnings we want them to take them seriously."