Shark sightings clear Jervis Bay beaches

 LOCAL beaches crowded with holiday makers were evacuated due to shark sightings on New Year’s Day.

Shortly after 3pm, five large sharks were seen at Vincentia and Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay during a routine pass of the area by the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol.

The sharks were between 20 metres and 50 metres from shore and the largest of these was estimated at between four and five metres in length.

The patrol crew sounded the aircraft siren to evacuate up to 70 people from

the water and spent almost 40 minutes over the beach maintaining a watch of the sharks’ movements while police managed the situation on the ground.

The patrol’s general manager Harry Mitchell said earlier in the afternoon two large Hammerhead sharks and a third shark were seen lurking near the entrance to Lake Conjola.

He said the sharks were only 50 metres from shore but there were no swimmers in the area.

MrMitchell said his specialist crews are on heightened alert for increased shark activity as

 water temperatures increase and fish shoals become more abundant along the coast.

“It’s all about helping to maximize public safety by mitigating risk using all of the resources

Available,” he said.

He said these resources included beach meshing at four Illawarra beaches and the aerial patrol which was beachgoers’ “eye in the sky”.

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