UPDATE 12.05pm: Fisheries Victoria director of education and enforcement Ian Parks said it was not unusual for sharks to be around, and advised people to follow the shark smart safety tips.
“People are more aware sharks are out there but there’s no evidence there’s actually an increase in sharks,” Mr Parks said.
“They’ve always been there and always will and the risk of shark attacks are very low compared to other risks like driving your car.”
The safety tips include:
- Keep informed by checking the Vic Emergency website or app.
- If you see a shark report it to the police or at a patrolled beach to lifesavers on the ground.
- Swim between the flags where possible and obey any beach closures put in place.
- Try to avoid swimming where waste enters the water.
- Don’t swim if you’ve got bleeding wounds.
- Don’t swim if you see large schools of bait fish, particularly if they are behaving erratically.
“Sharks are around,” Mr Parks said.
“With the new Vic Emergency app it’s a great way of people finding out whether there’s any sightings.”
EARLIER: People are being warned to be careful entering the water around Warrnambool’s Lady Bay after multiple sightings of a shark believed to be at least two metres in length.
Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club captain David Owen said there had been “a lot” of reports about one particular shark.
“Just be wary,” Mr Owen said.
He said he issued the warning because “too many people had seen it” and multiple people said it was a white pointer, also known as a great white shark.
The shark was spotted near the breakwater prior to 4pm on Monday afternoon, and Warrnambool’s main beach was closed for two hours as a precaution.
Mr Owen said he would advise against swimming in the middle of the bay or near the breakwater.
Recreational fisherman Daniel Hainey said he saw the shark from the breakwater sometime after 3.30pm, and it had been briefly tangled in his line.
“Basically there was a boat (that) came in here and had a seal follow it,” he said.
“The boat has pulled out of the water, the seal has gone away – so we thought – then we heard some kids on the pier screaming out to each other from one side to the other.
“I thought they were talking about the seal again and not long after saw the shark come up right along the side of the pier here.”