Ballina beaches have been closed for 24 hours after a man suffered a 20cm gash to his leg when he was bitten by a shark at Shelly Beach shortly before 7am.
Speaking from the beach, Ballina mayor David Wright told Echonetdaily that the 43-year-old man from East Ballina had suffered a 20cm gash to his leg but fought off the shark with his surfboard and managed to paddle himself back into shore.
He was given first aid by friends and drove himself to Ballina Hospital before being transferred Lismore Base Hospital to have gash his gash cleaned.
‘He’s OK. It’s going to take a while to make sure there’s no infection,’ Cr Wright said.
He added it was not known what type of shark was responsible for the bite.
‘Drumlines are in the water. The smart drumlines have baited hooks and one caught a 3.5m great white at the same place the other day.
‘It’s just lucky it wasn’t that,’ he said.
‘The way he was attacked it doesn’t look like a feeding thing.
‘The drones have been up but haven’t spotted anything yet – they fly 8-10 times a day,’ Cr Wright said.
Jet skis have also been deployed to survey the area.
Police say they attended the beach and liaised with Surf Life Saving NSW.
Officers seized the surf board and are liaising with Department of Primary Industries to identify the species.
Beachgoers are urged to follow safety advice, by visiting the Department of Primary Industry’s website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/sharks and the SharkSmart app.
NSW Surf Life Saving has announced all Ballina beaches will be closed until tomorrow morning.