Fears have been raised that a shark attack – in which a boy was pulled from a boat off Tasmania’s north-west coast – may be a sign they will be back in numbers.
The 10-year-old was taken to hospital with cuts to his arm, chest and head on Friday following the attack near Stanley.
He was in a fishing vessel with his father and two other men “when a shark grabbed him from the boat”, said Ambulance Tasmania.
The boy’s father jumped into the water, at which point the shark swam off.
The child was wearing a life jacket at the time and was in a stable condition, the statement added.
Local fisherman David Hursey told ABC News on Saturday that it is unusual for sharks to be around in the winter.
He said: “You don’t see this sort of thing happen this time of year, never have, but the amount of seals out here, the way it is these days they’ll come in and feed.”
Mr Hursey said they would go for “anything that looks like a free meal”, including “a person”.
He fears there could be many more sharks in the water come summer.
“If you’ve got them around here this time of year, wait till summer and they will be even worse,” he said.
He praised the boy’s father for diving into the water to help his son.
“He was very lucky his dad responded as quickly as he did,” he added.
If you're considering entering the water in the Stanley area please be advised there has been a large shark sighted in the area. #sharktas
Tasmania Police had issued an alert warning people that “a large shark” had been spotted in the area.
It is the latest in several shark attacks in Australian waters.
A 17-year-old surfer died after he was mauled by a shark off the New South Wales coast last weekend.
Earlier this month a scuba diver died after he was attacked by a shark off the coast of Queensland.
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