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Newcastle beaches remain closed for record fifth day.

shriram | 14th January 2015 | Forest And Environment
Newcastle beaches remain closed for record fifth day.

    Newcastle beach inspectors say it is still too risky to reopen beaches with a five-metre shark lurking near the New South Wales coast for a fifth straight day.

A great white shark of that size could bite someone in half, Nobbys Beach inspector Paul Bernard said.

“You don’t get a second chance with these things, [a] bite can be fatal,” he said. “We’ve never had a shark this size hanging around.”

The inspector, who was just metres away from the shark during a jetski beach patrol, said it had been seen numerous times.

The shark was last spotted by water police about 2.30pm on Tuesday at Burwood beach, near Merewether beach where it was first seen on Saturday afternoon.

As a result, beaches have remained closed for a record fifth day in a row.

Bernard said the council was taking the decision seriously, especially as beach kiosks and businesses could be affected.

“Would I go into the water? Would I put my kids in the water? No,” Bernard said. “I didn’t even go ocean ski paddling on my day off yesterday.”

The shark has been seen in an area stretching over about 10km.

Increased marine activity and overcast, warm weather are thought to be possible reasons for the shark’s prolonged presence.

The life sciences manager at Manly Sea Life Sanctuary, Rob Townsend, said the shark’s behaviour was not unusual.

“Great whites are very variable,” he said. “They spend time in the surf where they are sometimes spotted by lifeguards and then they also have their massive oceanic migration where they travel to South Africa. They are very adaptable.”

The latest helicopter search, which was conducted late on Tuesday afternoon, found no sign of the shark.


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