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Beachgoers in the Urunga area on the state’s North Coast are being urged to avoid the area for at least the next 24 hours after a surfer encountered a shark on Monday morning.

The local man was surfing at an isolated location near the northern end of the river mouth when he saw what he believed to be a fin at around 6:15am today.

Fortunately he wasn’t injured in the incident but there was a bite mark left behind on his surf board.

Photographs of the board have been sent to NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists who will attempt to identify the species of shark involved.

Bellingen Shire Council has been informed of the incident with surf lifesaving assets in the area including the drone made available for surveillance duties if required.

Patrols at the beach recently concluded following the ending of the school holiday period, and Urunga Surf Life Saving Club has erected warning signs at the beach to alert the public to the danger.

The signs are set to remain in place until at least Tuesday and beachgoers are strongly encouraged to swim at Coffs Harbour which is the nearest patrolled location during the week.

Volunteer surf lifesavers will continue to patrol Urunga Beach on weekends and public holidays until the end of the season in late April.

Measures to Minimise the Risk of Shark Encounters

  • Tell a lifesaver or lifeguard if a shark is spotted near swimmers or surfers.

  • Don't swim too far from shore.

  • Swim in groups.

  • Avoid swimming and surfing when it's dark or during twilight hours.

  • Avoid murky water, waters with known effluents or sewage.

  • Avoid areas used by recreational or commercial fishers.

  • Avoid areas with signs of baitfish or fish feeding activity; diving seabirds are a good indicator of fish activity.

  • Do not rely on sightings of dolphins to indicate the absence of sharks; both often feed together on the same food.

  • Be aware that sharks may be present between sandbars or near steep drop offs.

  • Avoid swimming in canals, and swimming or surfing in river/harbour mouths.

  • Avoid having pets in the water with you.

  • Do not swim/surf near or interfere with shark nets

Source - SharkSMart


Monday 4 February 2019