An almost fully-grown great white shark has been patrolling coastal waters around Newcastle in the lower Hunter region of NSW, forcing lifeguards to close beaches for almost a week.
A suspected sighting of the shark near Nobbys Head at the southern entrance to Newcastle harbour on Wednesday was enough to convince council authorities to keep swimming beaches closed to the public for a sixth consecutive day, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Lifeguards said the predator, estimated to be approximately 5m in length and weighing around 1700kg, was of a size “not seen before around Newcastle”.
Over the past five days the shark has been sighted by authorities navigating waters off Newcastle, Bar, Stockton, Burwood and Merewether beaches.
“It is not safe for board riders to be out in the water, even close to shore, as sharks are known to move into the surf zone, hunting prey between where the surf breaks and the shoreline,” Newcastle council said.
Newcastle council said it was “unusual for a shark to stay around the same coastal areas for this many days in a row” and that beaches would only be reopened after a 24-hour period of no sightings.
“We ask for everyone’s cooperation in remaining out of the water at our beaches until lifeguards are satisfied that the shark has moved out of area waters,” the council said.
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