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Coast beaches reopen with 'extreme caution' warning after fatal shark attack

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Gold Coast beaches have reopened despite large amounts of baitfish in the water just two days after a fatal shark attack.

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Nick Slater, 46, died shortly after being bitten on the leg by a shark while surfing at Greenmount Beach on Tuesday.

It was the first fatal shark attack on the Gold Coast in 60 years.

A 22km stretch of beach between the NSW border and Burleigh Heads was closed on Wednesday as authorities hunted the shark, which some suspect was a great white.

The City of Gold Coast later reopened the beaches and lifeguards on jet skis and helicopters will continue to patrol the area on Thursday.

The shark that killed Slater could still be in the area and lifeguards have warned schools of fish in the after will make it risky to enter the water.

“We advise all beachgoers to exercise extreme caution as there are large amounts of baitfish in the water,” City of Gold Coast said in a statement.

Slater’s friend Adrian Southern, who lives in Canberra, didn’t know his mate had died until he saw his photo on television.

He’s devastated by the death but said he remembered Slater as a man who lived life to the full.

“Crikey, Nick’s cheeky smile, you know he was a real Mad Huey at heart. One of those guys who was just out there living the dream,” Southern told Nine Network.

Southern said seeing footage of his mate’s position in the lineup when he was attacked, and knowing it’s the only fatal shark attack in the area since the nets and drumlines were installed in the early 1960s, makes him think it was just bad luck.

He said Slater certainly wouldn’t want the shark responsible to be killed.

“Nick was fully aware of the environment he was playing within. I don’t think it’s something that Nick would want see: a shark hunted,” he said.

“This is only the second attack that’s occurred where there’s protected beaches. along that Gold Coast stretch, so again it’s very unusual.

“So it’s one of those things that he would want necessarily: that shark to be destroyed.”

It’s still uncertain what species of shark killed Slater with a great white or a tiger shark believed to be responsible.

Jade Parker, one of the surfers who waded out to help Slater, found a 4cm tooth lodged in Slater’s board, which he believed was from “an obvious white pointer”.

Queensland Fisheries said on Wednesday that two tiger sharks were caught near Greenmount Beach in the hours after the attack.

“There was a 3.3 metre tiger shark alive on a Shark Control Program drumline at North Kirra,” a spokesman said.

A two-metre tiger shark was found in a net a Currumbin. Both animals were killed and dumped offshore.

Fisheries Minister Mark Furner told parliament on Wednesday that shark control measures would be reviewed.

-AAP

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