Jalahra and Marley Cameron immediately left the water after reports of a possible shark sighting in the Macleay River this morning (pic Todd Connaughton) RESIDENTS were advised not to swim in the Macleay River on Wednesday after a possible shark sighting.
Kempsey Shire Council posted a warning on social media advising residents to “avoid entering the water at Riverside Park following a report of a shark sighting in this stretch of the Macleay River this morning.”
Over the years there have been a number of reports of sharks in the Macleay River and of people catching them.
Josh Colling hooked a 16.2kg bull shark in Sherwood in January 2014. The keen angler had been out bass-fishing with a friend when they spotted half a dozen or so bull sharks swimming up and down the Macleay River.
Not long after, local boys Shawn Rowsell, Clayton Dries and Lachlan and Callum Clarke also caught a 16.5kg bull shark at Mooneba along the river on Lee’s farm.
The Clarke boys had heard many stories about their great grandfather Percy Forest who had caught bull sharks at Temagog back in 1956.
Reports of bull sharks are not isolated to the Macleay.
A Port Macquarie fisherman hauled in a 250kg bull shark from the Hastings River with the help of a friend in December 2015 while another bull shark was caught from the same river by two Port Macquarie fisherman last month.
The shark measured 10 feet in length with an unknown girth.
A Department of Primary Industries spokesperson said it wasn’t uncommon for bull sharks to be present in rivers particularly in the Mid and North Coasts of NSW, year round.
“Large bull sharks, particularly females, have been found to come into estuaries in late spring, early summer to give birth to their young,” the spokesperson said.
Bull sharks are one of three species deemed dangerous by the government, along with great whites and tiger sharks.
They are by far the most adaptable and able to live almost anywhere in freshwater or saltwater habitats.
Bull sharks have been caught on a regular basis in the Macleay River over the years like this one pictured which was caught by Josh Colling in 2014 in Sherwood.
Beaches scanned for sharksHelicopters that have been spotted hovering above Crescent Head, South West Rocks, Stuarts Points and Hat Head beaches recently arepart of the NSW Shark Management Strategy, a $16 million investment by the state government over the next five years.
The NSW Government has developed the new shark management strategy in the hope of increasing protection for bathers from shark attacks and to minimize harm to sharks or other animals.
The twice daily sweeps will continue until Easter.
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