A South Coast indigenous fisherman and surfer has warned locals and visitors to Eurobodalla National Park to keep safe, after he had a close encounter with a great white shark at Potato Point on Wednesday afternoon.
Walbunja man Wayne Carberry had headed down to Potato Point just after lunchtime on Wednesday, to pick up some salmon from a fisherman friend, when out on the rocks, a massive white pointer emerged from the water.
Mr Carberry, quick with his camera phone, was able to capture the moments when the shark rose and thrashed about in the water just metres from his feet near the rocks at the well-known local fishing spot.
The video shows the shark being lured into the shallows with a salmon on a rope. While he has been an amateur fisherman and competitive indigenous surfer for many years, he said it was the first time he had ever seen a white pointer in the flesh.
"I've seen plenty of reef sharks over the years, and I've seen big thresher sharks in the water while diving, but never seen a white pointer, especially around here," Mr Carberry said.
"The shark hung around for about four and half hours after that, which was very unusual, normally they get a feed of fish and are on their way, but it seemed to be lurking around the rocks and patrolling along the beach, probably looking for fish as there were heaps of fish around."
Narooma man Mark “Ziggy” Zielinski and his diving partner are counting their lucky stars after they went diving for crayfish only hours before near the Potato Point shark sighting location.
“We dived for two hours at Potato Point on Wednesday morning until lunchtime, and must have just got out of the water when the white pointer came,” Mr Zielinski said. “It’s put the wind up us and we have been discussing safety measures on the boat if we do come across one.”
There have also been reports to the Narooma News of large sharks at 1080 and Tilba beaches south of Narooma in the past week.
Fellow Narooma diver Jonathon Poyner said he saw an adult great white at Montague Island less than two weeks ago and there had also been additional sightings off Potato point in the last couple of days.
Interestingly commercial hook, trap and line fisherman Jason Moyce has not seen great white sharks in recent weeks, whereas last year he encountered shark after shark just off Wallaga Lake. Read more
Meanwhile it was announced on Thursday that new VR4G listening stations to detect tagged sharks would be installed at Batemans Bay and Merimbula with information uploaded in real time to the Shark Smart app and Twitter by the Department of Primary Industries. Read more
Montague Island does have listening stations for tagged marine animals but this data also is not uploaded in real time to app, but is rather monitored over the long-term by scientists.
Local abalone divers are supposed to be forwarding shark sightings to the Department of Primary Industries and police so that information can be uploaded the Shark Smart app, Twitter and to surf life saving clubs.
But they are frustrated that they don’t seem to be getting relevant shark sightings disseminated back to them in adequate time.
Local Narooma abalone diver Stephen Bunny was planning to work right there at the Potato Point shark sighting location this week, but only became aware of the shark through the media.
“If there’s a tiger in my back paddock, I’d like to know about it,” the ab diver said.