ON THE LOOKOUT: Lennox Head lifeguard Kayla Laverty patrolling at Seven Mile Beach yesterday.
ON THE LOOKOUT: Lennox Head lifeguard Kayla Laverty patrolling at Seven Mile Beach yesterday. BRENDEN ALLEN

Expert tries to ease fears over shark sightings

THERE were 62 reported shark sightings along the North Coast over the past three months, more than half of them by members of the public.

Northern NSW Lifeguards said one-third of the sightings were at Byron Bay, while Ballina and Tweed recorded the next highest numbers.

The most common species of sharks found in this region are bronze whalers, bull sharks, sandbars, tigers and hammerheads, according to Nature Conservation Council of NSW marine conservation officer Ben Birt.

But he warned against hysteria over shark sightings and attacks, despite higher numbers of sharks in warmer Northern NSW coastal areas.

“If you look for sharks, then you'll see them,” he said.

“There's no scientific evidence or reason for them to increase.

“All the data suggests that they're going the other way and that is because they are fished for their fins.”

Lennox Head lifeguard Kayla Laverty said she had seen fewer than 10 sharks in four years on the job.

But swimmers and surfers should exercise caution, she said.

“It's best to avoid the water between dusk and dawn,” she said.



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