A 4-metre shark spotted by Channel 9 News helicopter at Wategos Beach, Byron Bay. Photo Contributed
A 4-metre shark spotted by Channel 9 News helicopter at Wategos Beach, Byron Bay. Photo Contributed Contributed

Multiple shark sightings prompt mass beach closures

MULTIPLE shark sightings - include one large predator seen cruising just metres from a group of surfers - have again forced beach closures across Ballina Shire today.

The first shark prowling off South Wall in Ballina was spotted by the Ballina Jet Boat about 11.30am. 

A short time later, another two sharks were spotted from the air, the first one off Angels Beach between Flat Rock and Shelly Beach.

The third shark was then sighted a stone's throw from a crowd of surfers at the northern end of Sharpes Beach, a popular surf spot on warm days.

The sightings again prompted police, Ballina Shire Council, and local lifesavers to hold an emergency consultation and move to close the beaches within the hour.

Surf Life Saving NSW spokeswoman Donna Wishart said each of the sharks was "large".

"They were all in the three to four-metre plus range," Ms Wishart said.

Meanwhile, beaches around Evans Head have remained closed today after large schools of baitfish were seen close to shore by lifesavers early this morning.

Baitfish schools attract larger fish which in turn bring sharks. They are also indicated from shore by diving flocks of sea birds.