POLICE have been told a great white shark was responsible for the death of a surfer at Ballina this week.
A 41-year-old man, Tadashi Nakahara, a Japanese national who had been living and working in Ballina, died after he was attacked by a shark while surfing at Shelly Beach about 10am on Monday.
He was assisted from the water by fellow surfers but died a short time later despite their efforts, and those of NSW Ambulance Paramedics.
Experts from the Department of Primary Industry have advised investigating police from Richmond Local Area Command that the shark responsible was a great white, between 3m and 4m long.
Sweeps of the beach have failed to find any sign of the shark; patrols continued throughout the week, with local beaches closed to the public as a precaution.
The NSW Police Force's helicopter, PolAir, conducted sweeps of the coastline again today, without any sightings.
Beaches between Ballina and Lennox Head remain closed today to the public; however, this is due to advice from the surf lifesavers who had concerns about rough surf, rather than the shark.
Advice from the Department of Primary Industry expert to NSW Police is that the shark responsible is unlikely to have remained in the immediate area, and once surf conditions have eased, the beaches will be open.
A post mortem examination is being conducted on Mr Nakahara today.
Police are liaising with Mr Nakahara's family in Japan.