Port Fairy Surf Club claim East Beach now safe for swimmers

A SHARK sighting at Port Fairy’s East Beach this week has prompted extra patrols from lifesavers and renewed warnings to beach goers.

The popular swimming spot was closed for an hour-and-a-half on Monday afternoon after a shark was spotted by a fisherman about 400 metres from the shore.

Port Fairy Surf Lifesaving Club Captain Amy Finnigan said the incident served as a timely reminder for all ocean users.

Patrol: Port Fairy Surf Lifesaving Club Captain Amy Finnigan says the club has increased patrolling since Monday's shark sighting.

Patrol: Port Fairy Surf Lifesaving Club Captain Amy Finnigan says the club has increased patrolling since Monday's shark sighting.

“It’s a good time to remind people heading to the beach to swim between the flags,” she said.

“As a club we are patrolling outside the flags a lot more since Monday and lifeguards are out on the IRBs (inflatable rescue boat) a lot more in outer areas.

“We’re also in contact with local fishermen and we’re keeping in constant contact with neighbouring surf clubs who might warn us of any dangers.

“But East Beach is calm and flat and visibility has been good since the beach was reopened. It’s not like a rough surf beach where it’s hard to see things in the water. 

“East Beach gradually gains depth and there are no hidden dips or holes so it’s unlikely to have a shark hiding in any pockets.”

Local fishing charter boat owner Daniel Hoey said the shark sighting could be in response to recent salmon number increases.

“There’s been a few big salmon in the area lately so that could be attracting sharks,” he said.

Despite increased shark sightings Ms Finnigan said swimmers should feel confident in returning to East Beach.

“Of course there are sharks out there but they don’t usually come close to the shore, especially such a calm, flat bay like this,” she said.

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