The scene of a shark attack on Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay where a man in his fifties died 09/09/2014.
The scene of a shark attack on Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay where a man in his fifties died 09/09/2014. Cathy Adams

Great whites in Byron waters all year around

A LOCAL shark expert said a 3m great white shark was sighted off Julian Rocks three weeks ago, with the sharks a common sight in Byron coastal waters.

It is common for great white sharks to be sighted at Byron Bay, with juveniles in the bay year-round, Dr Danny Bucher from Southern Cross University said.

Dr Bucher, senior lecturer in marine biology and fisheries at the university, said while juvenile great whites were common year-round at Byron Bay, it was unusual for a larger shark to be in the bay itself.

The bay is not a private swimming pool. These are wild animals.

- SCU marine biologist Dr Danny Bucher

"Only three weeks ago a colleague of mine sighted a three-metre great white at Julian Rocks," Dr Bucher said.

"The larger sharks would be heading south at this time of year for the seal pup season, Dr Bucher said.

Dr Bucher said schools of mullet or Australian salmon may have drawn the shark into the bay, but he warned there was little that could be done beyond taking the normal precautions of not swimming at dawn or dusk; in murky water or close to schools of fish.

"The bay is not a private swimming pool. These are wild animals."

Dr Bucher said it was extremely rare for the same shark to be responsible for a sequence of attacks and that there was no evidence of 'a plague of sharks'.

The scene of a shark attack on Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay where a man in his fifties died 09/09/2014.
The scene of a shark attack on Clarkes Beach, Byron Bay where a man in his fifties died 09/09/2014. Cathy Adams

Local Fatal Shark Attacks

2014: Clarkes Beach, 50-year-old Byron Bay swimmer - believed to be great white

2008:- Lighthouse Beach, Ballina, Peter Edmonds, 16-year-old bodyboarder, - bull shark

1993: Julian Rocks, Byron Bay John Ford, 31-year-old scuba diver - 5.5m white shark

1982: Tallows Beach, Byron Bay Martin Ford, 20-year-old surfer, legs bitten



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