Great White Shark Sighting Prompts New South Wales Beach Closures

Beaches in Newcastle, Australia, remained closed midway through Sunday after a great white shark was spotted off the coast, possibly with a young pup in tow.

Lifeguards sighted the great white, which they described as five-meters-long, around 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, according to the Border Mail. Swimmers were immediately removed from the water, and only Newcastle beach was left open, before another shark alarm sounded around 4:30, prompting the closure of the entire coastline. Lifeguards on jetskis approached the white shark to confirm the sighting, and continued to monitor the shark’s movements, with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter at their disposal.

On Sunday morning, lifeguards returned to the water to watch for the great white. They opened both Nobbys and Stockton beaches early in the morning, but were forced to close them around midday when the white shark turned up once again near the northern end of Nobbys beach, according to the Newcastle Herald.

Early reports indicated that the great white may have had a pup with it, though that assertion hasn’t been confirmed. Little is known about the reproductive cycle of white sharks, as the birth of a great white pup has never been observed. Though white sharks are known to deliver their young in the spring or summer months, the social order of the species and habits of juvenile great whites are poorly understood at best.

Earlier this month, a group of fishermen in New Zealand were startled when they mistakenly hooked a great white in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbor. As the Inquisitr previously noted, angler Jaan Robertson fought the white shark after his brother Mat felt the predator strike his bait. Though the group maneuvered their boat close to the shark in hopes of cutting it free and releasing it, the great white, thought to be four-meters-long, breached the surface of the water and snapped the line, escaping of its own volition.

Following the sighting near Nobbys beach, it was unclear when the coastline would reopen. Though lifeguards were in the water on Sunday, it remains to be seen if the great white shark will linger in the area or move back into the open ocean over the next few days.

[Image: Nicholas Tonks via the Newcastle Herald]