White pointer shark menacing surfers
A WHITE pointer shark has been menacing surfers at The Pass in Byron Bay over the past few weeks and is becoming increasingly aggressive with fears that it may attack.
The shark, identified by the distinctive markings on its dorsal fin, appears to be growing bolder with each sighting.
Byron Bay surfing identity and columnist for The Northern Star, Ben Bennink, said in one of the most serious incidents the shark, about 2.5 to 3m long, approached him and a group of 15 surfers at The Pass last Saturday.
It followed two female surfers into their group.
"It came into the middle of this crowd of surfers and started thrashing around. It's getting a bit cheeky," he said.
"It's almost like watching a dog get excited; you don't know whether it's excited or angry.
"A few people got freaked; some people didn't even notice it."
Mr Bennink said after the incident, he and several others got out of the water.
He went to lunch, but some people waited only 15 minutes before getting back in again.
Other worrying incidents had included the shark turning very close to surfers and flicking its tail on several occasions.
It's starting to behave in a territorial fashion and it doesn't scare as easily as most sharks do.
Glenn Sanders, who surfs an average of four hours a day, said the number of great white sightings off Byron had greatly increased, some as big as 3.5m.
Five years ago he would average one sighting a month now it was about three a week, but it didn't deter him from the water.
"It's a hell of a way to go," Mr Sanders said.