Several very large shark sightings at Manly Beach every day this week has closed local waters and triggered a response from the Department of Primary Industries.
All local beaches are already currently closed from either pollution concerns or severe coastal weather warnings, so the sharks’ presence is really a ‘bonus’ reason not to enter the water right now.
A shark measuring more than three metres, possibly a Great White, has been spotted around Manly Beach and the Bower break several times this week. Warm waters and murky nutrient rich waters from stormwater run off has made the area particularly welcoming for predators.
While we have been receiving reports from local surfers and swimmers all week, today (1 March 2022), Northern Beaches Council issued a formal alert that a shark larger than three metres had been seen putting lifeguards on additional alert.
“A large 3 meter plus shark has been spotted off Manly Beach. All swimmers and surfers are urged to stay out of the water,” a statement from the Council read.
“Beaches from Queenscliff to Shelly Beach are closed and appropriately signed.
“Council lifeguards are currently patrolling the area with rescue crafts in the water and with the support of Surf Life Saving NSW drone surveillance.
The Department of Primary Industries will deploy SMART drumlines when the surf “conditions subside, and it’s safe to do so.”
‘SMART’ stands for Shark-Management-Alert-In-RealTime. They consist of an anchor, two buoys and a satellite-linked GPS communications unit attached to a hook baited with one sea mullet.
A triggering magnet is attached to the communications unit. When a shark takes the bait and puts pressure on the line, the magnet is released alerting the boat crew and DPI scientists that there is an animal on the line. Once alerted, the team responds immediately (within 30 minutes) to tag and release the shark or other marine animal.
You can read about the technology on the SharkSmart website here.
Smaller sharks have also been spotted in the harbour side of Manly this week, including one estimated at about 1.5 metres just off Manly Cove this morning.