SHARKS GALORE: About 20 large sharks were spotted off Byron Bay yesterday morning by the NSW DPI's aerial contractor feeding on large schools of baitfish.
SHARKS GALORE: About 20 large sharks were spotted off Byron Bay yesterday morning by the NSW DPI's aerial contractor feeding on large schools of baitfish.

All clear on Byron's beaches after 'super sharky' Wednesday

UPDATE, 4.15PM: MASSIVE bait schools and feeding sharks which forced the closure of Byron Bay's beaches yesterday have moved out to sea today, according to a senior Byron lifeguard.

Northern NSW lifeguard coordinator Scott McCartney there had been no further sightings of batfish or sharks in the area and it was business as usual on the beaches.

Mr McCartney said lifeguards were forced to close Main Beach yesterday as a precautionary measure before using jetskis to warn beachgoers elsewhere along the Cape Byron beaches.

"We see bait balls commonly through the week, not to that size… half the time there is nothing chasing them, but they are (schooling) to appear bigger and avoid (becoming) prey."

Southern Cross University marine biologist Dr Daniel Bucher said April was expected to have the highest water temperatures of any month this year.

He said the sharks sighted off Byron on Tuesday were probably tropical species such as bulls and tiger sharks.

"You've still got a lot of those tropical shark species, whalers, tigers, and bull sharks that are hanging round longer than they normally do," he said.

"There may still be some whites out there, but whites are becoming less common than in the cooler season."

He said generally in calmer conditions marine life would venture closer to shore.


ORIGINAL: BYRON Bay surfer and surf columnist Ben Bennink is warning parents to think twice before letting their kids go surfing these school holidays.

Foregoing the usual philosophical attitude by many surfers toward the shark threat, Mr Bennink has warned that sharks are "back, and back in numbers", and coming "very close to shore".

RELATED: Sharks galore seen feasting in Byron Bay

The warning follows photos taken yesterday by the Department of Primary Industry's aerial spotting contractor showing what the DPI said was up to 20 sharks feeding on swarms of baitfish just off Byron Bay.

Several surfers were photographed surfing off Wategos Beach less than 50m from sharks.

Will you be letting your children go surfing on the North Coast these holidays?

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"Here's a little tip. Keep an eye out for bait fish balls," Mr Bennink writes in his weekly surfing column.

"If you see large dark areas of bait fish in shallow water, especially with birds frantically working the surface of the water, you may like to ask yourself this question: Why do the fish come close to shore and the surface where there is no escape from birds and larger fish?"

"The answer is simple - it's because whatever is swimming around and beneath them has left them no choice."

He said sharks weren't interested "that we're just out there to play, and they don't hesitate to deal with us, if we get in their way".

Mr Bennink also encouraged locals to give visitors to the region a "heads up" about the issue during the school holidays.