Melbourne beaches closed after 'unusual' shark sightings

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Tiger Shark
A young tourist places his hand on the glass of the big blue tank where sand tiger sharks (Carcharhinus Taurus ) and other fish species swim in the Palma Aquarium on the Spanish island of Mallorca August 31, 2011. Reuters/Enrique Calvo

Some Melbourne beaches had closed due to a spare of “unusual” shark sightings. Among these beaches are Elwood Beach and St Kilda Beach, which are among Melbourne's most well-known swimming spots.

According to reports, St Kilda Beach was forced to close just after 12.30pm on Sunday, Jan.3, after a 1.5-metre shark was spotted near an inflatable dinghy. “In my 25-plus years, this is the second time I’ve been involved at a shark sighting here at Elwood,” a local surf life saver told 9NEWS. The surf life saver said it was a rare occurrence.

Fairhaven Beach, south of Anglesea on Victoria's coast, was also forced to close at about 2:00 p.m. There were two shark sightings in the area.

Another shark was also spotted near Anglesea. The species was believed to be a bronze whaler. The beach, unlike the others, remained opened.

Elwood Beach and St Kilda Beach have now been re-opened. Meanwhile, Fairhaven beach, on the Great Ocean Road, is still close after a number of shark sightings over the weekend.

Fisheries Victoria revealed that there were more shark sightings this Christmas and New Year period than in the same period during the past years. "We are asking Victorians to keep up to date with the reported shark sightings and take heed of warnings," Fisheries Victoria director Travis Dowling said.

9News mentioned that the shark sightings occur as Melbourne experiences persistent hot temperatures. Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsey said that “Friday and Saturday are set to be very high danger again, so people need to be vigilant.”

Authorities assured that two Westpac rescue helicopters would continue to patrol over the summer. Meanwhile, fisheries Victoria has warned of a "three to four-year high" in the number of reported shark sightings in Victorian waters this summer.