The Newcastle Beaches were forced to close during their busy summer season, due to great white shark sightings.
Those looking to visit Newcastle Beaches in Australia, will have to wait on the discretion of council lifeguards, who claim to have sighted a great white shark estimated to be 16.4 feet long.
As a result, the Newcastle Beaches will remain closed until a 24-hour period with no shark sightings is observed.
The great white is said to be, “Of a size that has not been seen before around Newcastle.”
Newcastle Council aquatic services co-ordinator Peter Withers has been working at the Newcastle Beaches for 37 years. He told reporters of the recent activity on the water saying, “We’ve consistently seen the big one every day. Certainly it’s the biggest shark we’ve ever had and it’s hung around longer than any other shark.”
Typically the Newcastle Beaches have five shark sightings each year, which ultimately result in beach closings. The sighting on Wednesday near Nobbys Head forced the beach to be closed for the sixth consecutive day. Prior to these sightings sharks, police vessels reported seeing great whites near the Burwood and Merewether beaches.
In a statement the council had this to say:
Sightings have been across all beaches, from Stockton to Merewether. 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.
Surfer Craig Hollier told reporters of the seriousness of the situation when he found a dead dolphin washed up on the rocks near Leggy Point; “It was a full dolphin except there was a section of its tail missing. It could have been there for a day or two because you could smell it a mile away.”
It is likely the dolphin was attacked by a great white shark.
Nobby Beach inspector Scott Hammerton said the Newcastle Beaches were having one of their busiest summers in over 15 years before the shark sighting near Merewether on Saturday.