More than 5000 great white sharks are lurking in the waters off Australia's east coast, new research has revealed.
For the first time, the CSIRO has been able to put a number on the size of the white shark population using world-first genetic analysis.
It estimates there are about 750 adults in waters east off Victoria's southern coast, up to central Queensland and across to New Zealand.
Taking juvenile sharks into account, researchers believe the total east coast population sits at 5460 - but could be as high as 12,800.
According to Dorsal Shark Reports Australia, the most recent sighting of a great white in Australian waters along the east coast was on Thursday.
A report read a great white was seen off the NSW Mid North coast at Forster. Another one was spotted at Newcastle two hours before that. Other sightings in the past 24 hours included bull and tiger sharks.
It's estimated another 1460 adult white sharks live off Australia's southwest coast, but a total calculation is yet to be made.
Until now, it was difficult to gather information about adult white sharks because they are hard to sample.
- Barnaby Joyce accused of creating high-paying job for girlfriend
- Woman's Facebook post will put you off using hand dryers
- The Kmart item rated higher by Choice than luxury brands
But breakthrough genetic and statistical methods means scientists can estimate shark numbers without having to catch or even see them, the CSIRO said in a statement on Friday.
"Now that we have a starting point, we can repeat the exercise over time and build a total population trend, to see whether the numbers are going up or down," the research paper's lead author, Richard Hillary, said.
"This is crucial to developing effective policy outcomes that balance the sometimes conflicting aims of conservation initiatives and human-shark interaction risk management."