Jaw-dropping shark alert for SA beaches
SOUTH Australians planning to escape a spell of hot weather with a trip to the beach have been warned by Surf Life Saving SA that “increased activity” could lead to greater shark numbers closer to shore.
The mercury is tipped to peak at 41C on Tuesday in Adelaide, with an expected hike in shark sightings across metropolitan beaches.
Surf Life Saving SA spokeswoman Sita Bacher said sharks of all varieties could be drawn to shallow waters by the extra commotion of swimmers.
Data collected by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia shows encounters with sharks are down 42.6 per cent, compared with the same time last year.
There were 122 shark sightings between October 1, 2017, and January 12, 2018, compared with 70 between October last year and yesterday.
Only one great white shark has been spotted so far this month – about 400m offshore at Basham Beach, Middleton – and was reported to police on Monday. Bronze whaler’s made up the rest of this year’s sightings, including one just 40m off Largs Bay jetty on Tuesday.
“We do expect to see large numbers of shark sightings (but) that doesn’t mean there’s extra in the water, it means there’s extra people to see them,” Ms Bacher said.
“It’s the time of year they migrate along the metropolitan coast, so we just encourage everybody to be vigilant and alert.”
Ms Bacher said sharks would travel long distances to investigate “commotion and had an acute sense of smell”, which made swimming while bleeding or with pets dangerous.
This year’s sightings were made between 1pm and 6.30pm at Semaphore, Sellicks Beach, Aldinga, Grange, Largs Bay, Largs North, Henley Beach and Encounter Bay.
It’s possible the same shark was recorded in the log more than once.
PIRSA aquaculture executive director Sean Sloan said sharks were seen more frequently in the warmer months.
“Sharks are a natural and important part of a healthy marine ecosystem, they are highly mobile and frequent all SA coastal and shelf waters,” he said.
Shark-spotting drones and helicopters will patrol beaches today, while fixed-wing planes keep beachgoers safe on weekdays. The mercury is expected to dip to 31C on Friday. SHARK SIGHTINGS IN SA WATERS (Oct 1 to Jan 12) 2018-19 .................. 70 2017-18 ................. 122 2016-17 .................. 75 2015-16 .................. 38
MONSTER OF THE DEEP: A 4.5m white pointer near Port Lincoln.
SHARK WATCH: An ocean predator, left, pictured by Daniel Rundle at Aldinga Bay and a shark snapped in shallow water at Normanville by the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue helicopter.