Surfer Ian Penfold and police scan the site on Byrons Main Beach where a mako shark was seen minutes earlier.
Surfer Ian Penfold and police scan the site on Byrons Main Beach where a mako shark was seen minutes earlier.

Fears Byron shark a danger to swimmers

By RACHEL AFFLICK news@northernstar.com.au AUTHORITIES are worried it is only a matter of time before a three-metre mako shark spotted off Byron Bay's Main Beach attacks someone.

The mako, believed to be the same one which caused the beach to be closed last week, prompted another scare at the beach yesterday, after a surfer saw it cruising in the shallows, metres from swimmers.

Byron Bay surfer Ian Penfold was sitting in his campervan overlooking the beach when he spotted a shape in the water. "At first I thought it was x a bit of seaweed," he said.

"As it straightened out I could see what it was." The shark was swimming back and forth in the shallows between The Wreck and Clarks Beach, and at one point came within 35 metres of a couple swimming in the water, oblivious to its presence.

Ian saw it 'cruising in their direction' so he ran down the beach and raised the alarm. "They had no idea," Ian said.

There were no lifeguards on duty at the time, but a beach-goer rang triple-0 to alert the emergency lifesaver response team. The beach was closed for a short time.

Ian said he had seen the shark a number of times in the same location, and he believed it would be back.

He is concerned that with summer approaching and an increasing number of people in the water it could only be a matter of time before someone is attacked. Authorities agree.

Byron Bay Police Inspector Owen King said after yesterday's scare the Surf Life Saving Service was liaising with the Marine Parks Authority to see if the shark could be removed.



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