Despite speculation about a 'surge in shark sightings along the NSW coast', shark numbers have dropped by about 90 per cent worldwide, with several species now at risk of extinction.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature warns up to a third of sharks living in the open ocean are threatened with extinction.
"The recent shark sighting near Newcastle does not mean there are more shark numbers overall, they are just more likely to be seen during the warmer months of the year," Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Chief Executive Officer, Pepe Clarke said today.
"Sharks are more visible during Summer as the warm water from the East Australian Current extends down the coast and brings with it various marine species, including sharks. Warmer temperatures also entice more swimmers to our beaches, meaning sharks are more likely to be spotted by the increased aerial surveillance of beaches.
"The chance of a swimmer being attacked by a shark is very small. Humans are not part of a shark's natural diet, with no evidence any shark species will set out to intentionally bite or harm people.
"Over the past decade, Australian shark bite fatalities have averaged 1.3 per year, despite large increases in the number of people in the water. More than 1000 times more people are killed on Australia's roads each year, 1367 in 2010 alone.
"Thousands of sharks are killed off the Australian coast each year. These marine icons are susceptible to the impacts of fishing as they are slow growing, late to mature and produce few young.
"We mustn't let fear hold back efforts for government to put an end to shark fishing and protect shark populations at risk, including the critically endangered grey nurse shark," Mr Clarke said.
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