Nick Slater, 46, was mauled on the leg off Greenmount Beach. He was a local realtor, surfer, paddle boarder and cyclist.

Nick Slater, 46, was a sales agent for London Estate Agents, which is based in Mermaid Beach.Credit:Instagram
Dr Johan Gustafson, a marine ecologist specialising in sharks who is attached to Griffith University’s Centre For Coastal Management on the Gold Coast, said a ball of bait fish was in the area where the attack took place on Tuesday, which could explain why the shark bit Mr Slater.
“When the surfer was out, there was a bait ball not too far behind and there were 20-odd sea birds diving in and taking the bait,” Dr Gustafson said.
“I’ve been out on the water throughout winter and the water this past week has been quite green and cool … murky waters mean more shark activity.
“It’s really unfortunate and I’m sorry for the family to go through this, but it is not an alarming thing, this is one fatal attack in over 60 years on those Gold Coast beaches.
“Those sharks are always around, this is shark season, with whales moving around. There is also still cold water in there from winter, so shark numbers won’t start dying off until November.”
The spokesman for Mr Furner said the shark control program equipment off Greenmount Beach was routinely serviced earlier on Tuesday, hours before the attack.
No issues were identified and no sharks were caught in the nets or drum lines. The equipment was serviced again at first light on Wednesday.
Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said all beaches from Burleigh to the border were closed “until further announcement” on Wednesday.
Cr Tate said he was working with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to assess whether current shark protections were adequate.
He expressed an interest in looking into the possibility of “sonic solutions” providing greater protection for surfers and swimmers.
Dr Gustafson said he believed the equipment Cr Tate was referring to was an electromagnetic shark deterrent that used sharks’ sensitivity to electrical pulses against them.
“They sense the impulses of their prey through their snout; when their prey twitches they can sense that in the water,” he said.
“The electromagnetic protection generates a force field that affects this sense and deters the shark away. If the impulse and sensation is too strong, they turn away.
“But this technology on a large scale is exceedingly expensive, with great costs to repair and run it. Often in storms, the equipment gets destroyed or damaged.”