SYDNEY, June 11 (Xinhua) -- A popular beach on Australia's east coast has reopened on Tuesday, after being closed down yesterday when a group of 60 bull sharks were tracked by a surveillance helicopter.
According to Gary Meredith from Surf Life Saving Far North Coast, the sheer number of sharks at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach on Monday is unprecedented.
"Extremely unusual, everyone was shocked when we told them," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday.
"You know, I had to ask twice when (the NSW Department of Primary Industries, which monitors shark behaviour) gave me the numbers," he said.
While it's not exactly clear why the sharks had gathered in such high numbers, locals believe they may have been looking to feed on a large school of fish that was making its way down the mouth of the Richmond River to spawn.
"I did notice when I was driving along the beach that there were some mullet that had been washed up," Meredith said.
With a long history of shark attacks, the New South Wales State Government recently introduced a multi-million dollar shark mitigation program involving baited drum lines and fly-over surveillance checks.
In 2008, a 16-year-old boy was killed by a bull shark while bodyboarding at Lighthouse Beach and in 2015, a Japanese surfer also lost his life after being attacked by a great white shark at the nearby Shelly Beach.
During the following year, there were three more non-fatal but serious shark attack incidents.