Sighting prompts a warning to think twice about river dip

RESIDENTS thinking about escaping the heat by taking a dip in the Shoalhaven River have been warned to be cautious after a bull shark was spotted near the Shoalhaven River bridge on Monday morning.

During the summer and current warm conditions, Nowra swimmers will have to go to Bomaderry or the Bay and Basin Leisure Centre at Vincentia, or even some of the village pools like Greenwell Point.

Harry Mitchell from the Bendigo Bank Aerial Patrol said it is not unusual to see bull sharks in estuarine systems sometimes many kilometres from the sea.

“It would not surprise me or be unusual to see bull sharks in the Shoalhaven River,” he said.

“Female bull sharks have been known to go some 50km up rivers in preparation to give birth. They go that far up to give birth and to get away from the cannibal males who will often eat the young.

“They are an amazing creature and have adapted to go from salt water to fresh water conditions.

“Spotting a bull shark in the Shoalhaven River definitely wouldn’t surprise me.”

He said bull sharks were best given a wide berth.

“Having observed many species of sharks over many years, in my opinion I fear a bull shark more than a great white because they are unpredictable, where they can turn up and how they behave,” he said.

“They are a distinctive shark and we have observed them many times from our observation platforms and their behaviour is different to other species of sharks.

“Over the decades we have had many shark sightings along the coastline at locations near or where estuarine systems, harbours, rivers, lakes, creeks or bays meet the ocean.

“Estuaries provide nutrients into the ocean and marine life, from the smallest micro-organism to the largest predators, come in get what they can. It is a natural phenomenon that has been going on for millions of years.

“Unfortunately for us humans, some of our popular beaches are very close to where these estuaries meet the ocean.”

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