Saturday, December 29, 2007

Record shark sightings in New South Wales Hunter, Australia

Beach goers in the New South Wales Hunter region are being warned to be wary of sharks this summer, with record sightings of sharks reported along the coast.

It comes after a shark bit part of a 31-year-old surfer's buttock off at Jimmys Beach, near Tea Gardens, yesterday morning.

The victim is recovering at the John Hunter Hospital after undergoing emergency surgery.
Newcastle man Steve Bassick, who runs aerial shark spotting tours along the region's coastline, says shark numbers are definitely up, and he would not be surprised if there was a fatality this summer.

"We've had sightings in one trip between here and Hawks Nest of 28 white pointers," he said.
Mr Bassick says he believes a death is imminent.

"I've said that for the last few years and I won't back down from that," he said.

"When we're looking at Stockton Beach and you see the swimmers, the jet ski riders and some of the parasailers that are right in that proximity - there are plenty of people in the water."

Tea Gardens fisherman Ross Fidden agrees shark numbers are out of control and more attacks are likely.

"They're definitely increasing. They're increasing at unprecedented levels on Hawks Nest Beach in particular," he said.

"Shark sightings are very, very common at the moment."

Mr Fidden says his nephew recently had a very close shave.

"He was out surfing and only about five metres away from him, a large shark leapt clean out of the water and swallowed a seagull," he said.

Both men are urging beach goers to be more aware.


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