The shark signs may be going up soon.
The shark signs may be going up soon. Craig Warhurst

Swimmers not alone at our beaches

SURFERS and campers from Noosa to Inskip Point have been warned to keep an eye out for sharks, after repeated sightings close to shore near swimmers.

Official sightings include bull sharks at several locations and, according to witnesses, white pointers close to shore at Rainbow Beach.

Surf Life Saving Queensland has conducted repeated air patrols of beaches north from Noosa North Shore this week and officials report sightings almost every day this week.

"We've landed a few times to warn bathers and campers, after spotting sharks close to swimmers," one helicopter patrol officer told The Gympie Times yesterday.

The officer said he and others had noted several sightings of sharks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

From Rainbow Beach comes a report of two white pointers, described as being more than 2m long, cruising for food very close to bathers who had to be called out of the water by others on the beach.

Latest figures from the state Primary Industries and Fisheries operation give Rainbow Beach prominence.

Rainbow Beach registered the largest number of sharks two metres and over caught on government approved drumlines so far this year, official figures showed.

The 22 sizeable sharks caught in February made the biggest contribution to a total of 30 caught at Rainbow from January to June, a significant proportion of the total for Queensland of 115.

Second place went to the Sunshine Coast, with 15 catches, followed by 13 at Cairns, according to figures released by Primary Industries and Fisheries.

Warmer weather and the presence of school holiday visitors prompted action on the part of officials to increase patrols, including aerial patrols along the Cooloola Coast, according to Surf Life Saving Queensland.

Other reports indicate sightings of bull sharks, some 50 metres or less from shore, off North Shore beaches.

However, the SLSQ said there was no cause for alarm, as beaches would be subject to extra patrols over the holiday period.

Bathers were however advised to stay between the flags, where life savers would be on the lookout to keep them safe.

Helicopter flights would also be a daily event between Noosa and Inskip Pt. This represents an increase in patrols, in response to the sightings.

SLSQ officer Aaron Purchase told ABC Radio the daily patrols would be a part of the lifesavers' watching briefs.

"We were going to do two or three flights across the week up to Double Island Pt and occasionally up to Inskip as well," he told the broadcaster.

"After spotting the sharks, we're going to increase that up to at least one flight a day over the school holidays." Shark sightings were nothing new to the area but bathers should keep an eye out, he said.

Gympie Times

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