Resident spots 20 bull sharks stalking Brisbane River: ‘Amazing’

Resident spots 20 bull sharks stalking Brisbane River: ‘Amazing’

A Brisbane biologist has seen an astonishing sight from his balcony overlooking the Brisbane River – a thrill of bull sharks swimming near the iconic Story Bridge.

Paulo Baleeiro, who is undertaking a PhD at the University of Queensland, counted “about 20” sharks from his balcony and filmed the pack moving slowly through the water on 29 January.

Although it can be difficult to see from a distance, Mr Baleeiro can zoom in on the animals, at least 10 are seen in the murky water, some traveling alone while others swim in small groups.

The resident said he could see “about 20” bull sharks in the Brisbane River. Source: Facebook/Paulo Baleeiro

Mr Baleeiro, 41, has lived in the city on the 22nd floor of his apartment building for four years and incredibly had never seen a shark in the river until the moment he recorded the video.

“I was surprised, and it took me a while to realize it was a school of bull sharks,” he told Yahoo News Australia. “Then I decided to make the video because I knew it wasn’t normal and that it was so cool.

“Luckily I didn’t see people with their dogs on the other side of the river at that time of day (afternoon) where some let their dogs chase balls in the water. And sometimes I see people swimming too. Now imagine the disaster before.”

Mr Baleeiro said the sharks hung around for at least half an hour, but even an hour later he could still spot two or three.

“Most of them swam down to Howard Smith Wharves,” he said, referring to a popular Brisbane eatery at the foot of the Story Bridge.

The footage came as a shock to some residents, who commented on the video on social media.

“Oh wow… we know they are there but have never seen them. Water looks murky too,” one man wrote.

“Way too much for my taste!” someone else added.

One woman said she never believed her friend when they told her there were sharks in the Brisbane River.

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Dr Daryl McPhee, associate professor of environmental science at Bond University on the Gold Coast, said it was not unusual for bull sharks to be seen in groups of similar individuals. He told Yahoo News that it is currently breeding season for the sharks in the Brisbane River.

“Adult bull sharks enter rivers to breed and the young juveniles that are newly born go upriver,” he said. “Boe sharks of various sizes can be found from the mouth of the river to Colleges Crossing. Exactly where they are is often affected by the amount of summer rainfall.”

Six sharks can be seen on the left, and two more on the right a short distance away. Source: Paulo Baleeiro

Dr McPhee said bull sharks, along with tiger sharks and great whites, were “responsible for the most fatal human bites and serious injuries”.

“However, the risk of a shark bite is very low and drowning while undertaking water-based activities is a far greater source of human mortality.

“Regardless of the number of sharks in the river, the risk of a bite remains extremely low. If sharks are known to be active in a particular location, avoid that location,” he said.

On Monday, a pod of dolphins was spotted putting on a show in the Brisbane River at Bulimba, about 4km away from where the sharks were spotted.

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