BEACHGOERS are being urged to be “shark-smart” over summer.
Victorian Fisheries Authority CEO Travis Dowling said sharks were a natural part of a healthy marine environment and, while the risk of an attack is low, there are ways to reduce the odds.
“When swimming, surfing, diving or fishing, people are in the shark’s natural environment and so should be mindful and make good choices,” Mr Dowling said.
He said people should not swim, dive or surf alone and be alert to the latest sightings at emergency.vic.gov.au
Bathers should stay between the red and yellow flags on lifesaver-patrolled beaches and avoid areas that attract sharks, such as seal haunts or areas where fishing, human and animal waste enters the water.
Mr Dowling said beachgoers should watch for signs of unusual behaviour in wildlife or fish, which can indicate that a shark is in the area.
Reports of sharks seen close can be made to police on 000, or notifying lifesavers.
“That information is relayed to the VicEmergency website and smart phone app so it can be shared quickly with beachgoers,” he said.
“If the beach is patrolled, lifesavers will alert swimmers and possibly close the beach altogether if that’s appropriate.”
Mr Dowling said it had been 30 years since there had been a fatal shark attack in Victoria.
“While there is no evidence that shark numbers are increasing, our human population is growing each year and more people are using the coastline to relax and recreate.”