7-metre great white shark is believed to be responsible for mauling a bodyboarder in the fourth serious shark attack in NSW this year.
Beaches were closed after Dale Carr, 38, was attacked at Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie, on Saturday evening and taken to hospital with leg, back and stomach injuries.
A biologist from the Department of Primary Industries inspected the bite pattern and concluded a great white shark, estimated to be about 2.7m, was most likely involved.
Beaches were reopened after extensive air patrols on Monday morning but safety concerns remain in the region, particularly further north in Ballina where there have been a spate of serious attacks.
On July 31, Evans Head resident Craig Ison was knocked from his board and mauled by a great white during an early morning surf.
Mr Ison is still in Gold Coast Hospital in a stable condition.
A few weeks before, bodyboarder Matthew Lee was attacked by a shark at Ballina’s Lighthouse Beach, suffering serious injuries to his lower legs.
And in February, a large great white shark tore the legs off 41-year-old surfer Tadashi Nakahara in a fatal attack at neighbouring Shelly Beach.
Some Ballina surfers and fishermen have called for a shark cull.
But Ballina Mayor David Wright says he will not support the cull until he looks at the results of tagging large sharks in the area, which will start on Wednesday.
“It’s no use culling if you don’t know why they’re there,” Mr Wright told AAP.
But he acknowledged how terrifying it had been for some of the surfers and fishermen.
“These sharks are coming in waist-deep water sometimes – it’s a bit scary,” Mr Wright said.
“You can virtually see them in the breakers. It’s totally unprecedented.”
Mr Carr has thanked those who rescued him.
“I firstly would like to thank those who were on the beach at the time of this incident and were instrumental in retrieving me from the shoreline,” he said in a statement reported by the Seven Network.
“I have no doubts their efforts saved my life.”