Beaches will remain closed today following shark sightings

UPDATE 8.55am: BEACHES across Ballina Shire will be kept closed for another 24 hours following sightings of two large sharks late yesterday afternoon

Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Dan Andrew said jetskis were also being deployed to monitor the coastline for any further sightings.

Council ranges will meanwhile be patrolling all beaches from South Ballina to Seven Mile Beach advising swimmers and surfers not to enter the water or do so at their own risk.

 

INITIAL REPORT: TWO large sharks were spotted within minutes of each other late yesterday afternoon in the Ballina area - the first sightings in the two days since Monday's fatal attack.

An estimated four-metre shark was seen swimming under surfers off Flat Rock, while a second three-metre shark was seen by a passing helicopter in the mouth of the Richmond River.

All beaches in Ballina Shire remained closed yesterday, officially due to dangerous surf conditions.

The NSW Police helicopter, PolAir, conducted multiple sweeps of Byron Bay, Ballina and Lennox Head yesterday and is expected to be in the air again this morning.

However, Richmond police Inspector Matt Kehoe said rough surf conditions and poor water visibility was making it difficult to spot any shark activity from the air.

Police and lifesavers will decide this morning on whether to reopen the beaches today.

Inspector Kehoe said the decision would hinge on surf conditions and whether any more sharks happened to be spotted during the morning.

He noted, however, that the Department of Primary Industries had advised police great white sharks could travel between 75 to 100km per day.

Southern Cross University marine biologist Dr Daniel Bucher said the movement patterns of great whites was a mystery with tagging technology only last year progressing to the level where long-term observations could be made.



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