Shark sighting closes Byron beach - again
By Albert Elzinga
SWIMMERS fled the water at Byron Bay's Main Beach yesterday for the third day in a row after a shark was sighted.
The sighting forced the closure of the beach and follows a run of sightings and two attacks, neither of which resulted in serious injury.
Statistics show the number of shark sightings on the Far North Coast are rising, with more than 30 sightings so far this year twice as many as for the same period last year.
But Southern Cross University shark expert Dr Danny Bucher says we land dwellers have less to fear than we think.
Dr Bucher said the jump in shark sightings was simply a matter of food supply.
"They will hang around to feed while the number of bait fish remains this high but as soon as that is over the shark numbers will decrease again," he said.
Although the total number of sharks sighted had increased, the dangerous white pointers were unlikely to make an appearance.
"During the winter we see the Great Whites here feeding on mullet and taylor but they prefer the cooler waters further south," Dr Bucher said.
"The sharks sighted off our coast are mostly warm water species like Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks."
The feeding behaviour of these sharks created vibrations in the water which attracted more sharks.
Although the number of sightings had increased, the actual number of sharks in the ocean was falling dramatically.
And with only one person a year in shark attacks in Australia, making the car trip to the is beach much more dangerous than any activity in the water.