An Eden commercial fishspotter and windsurfer has warned of more face-to-face encounters with sharks, saying he has “never seen so many”.
Gary Warren says he has seen a number of what he believes to be white pointers in recent weeks, including one while windsurfing off Boydtown last Sunday.
He says he has spotted several more from the air, including a pair at Bournda and another near the Pinnacles.
“Last Sunday there was a school of salmon going along Boydtown, and I noticed they were spinning an unusual distance from the shore,” Mr Warren said.
“I knew there was only one thing that would be causing that, but I wasn’t going to get too close while I was windsurfing, so I told [commercial fisherman] Roger Fourter.
“He went and had a look and saw a shark in a school of salmon off Cocora Beach.
“I couldn’t guarantee it was a white pointer, but in these temperatures, I’d be willing to bet it was.”
Mr Warren said he has seen several of what he believes to be white pointers while flying in the local area in recent weeks.
He said their presence at this time of year is cause for concern.
“You don’t want to be coming face-to-face with a white pointer,” he said.
“In a couple of months when the water is up around 19 degrees, you’ll start to see bronze whalers and hammerheads.
“At the moment though, it’s around 16 degrees, and I’ve never seen so many of what I think are white pointers.
“The population is increasing everywhere, and we’re hearing of more and more people being bitten these days.
“More sharks simply means there are going to be more encounters with people.”
Mr Warren, whose son Reece is an abalone diver, said the recent sightings haven’t greatly fazed local divers.
He also had some advice for swimmers.
“If you’re swimming anywhere near a school of salmon, you need to get out of the water,” he said.
“That’s where you’re going to find pointers – they follow salmon around.
"You should also avoid swimming early in the morning and late in the afternoon – that's when they're feeding.
“My son is an abalone diver, and what the divers tend to do when they know one is around is to stay out of murky waters.
“You can’t be too worried about it, or you wouldn’t be in the game.”
Mr Warren’s son was with abalone diver Eric Nerhus, when Mr Nerhus made a miraculous escape from the jaws of a white pointer off Cape Howe in January 2007.
The incident is one of the few documented shark encounters on the NSW South Coast, the most recent of which was a fatal attack that claimed the life of Christine Armstrong at Tathra, in April 2014.
National Parks and Wildlife Service whale scientist Geoff Ross said sharks would be drawn to the carcass.