Bull sharks feast in Sydney Harbour as water heats up: 'Pretty shocking'

·Environment Editor
·4-min read

Fishermen were excited to see a pair of bull sharks swimming and hunting in Sydney Harbour on the weekend, with experts advising they are likely migrating to the area in greater numbers.

Video posted to social media platform TikTok shows the large predators taking a large salmon in front of a group of anglers off Jefferey Street Wharf in Kirribilli on Saturday.

The Sydney Opera House can be seen briefly across the harbour in the background as the sharks hustle for food, and fishermen swear and shout with excitement.

Casper Carriol (15) filmed as two bull sharks ventured close to fishermen. Source: Supplied
Casper Carriol (15) filmed as two bull sharks ventured close to fishermen. Source: Supplied

Fifteen-year-old Casper Carriol, who posted the video to TikTok, told Yahoo News Australia he spotted sharks on two seperate occasions over the weekend, along with increased numbers of prey species.

During one event, he said sharks ventured “really close” and into “pretty shallow”, weedy, rocky, waters near the sea wall.

Casper watched as one fisherman threw a salmon into the water and it "just got smashed instantly" by the the larger of the two sharks.

“Oh, man, it was so cool,” he said.

“I’ve never really seen proper sharks in person like that in the wild.

“They were right there, huge, they don’t even look that big in the video compared to what they were. It was pretty shocking to see how big they are in real life.”

Boy 'almost fell over' after hooking shark

Featured in the TikTok attempting to haul in the shark is Northern Beaches boy Hunter Gorrell.

Describing the shark as a "big strong creature", the 17-year-old revealed to Yahoo News Australia it was the first time he'd ever hooked a shark.

"I wasn't expecting it," Hunter said.

"Even though I was leaning forward I almost fell over.

"I know sharks are really good for the ocean and it was good to get so close to one."

Bull sharks attracted to warmer waters in Sydney Harbour

Humane Society International marine biologist Lawrence Chlebeck told Yahoo News Australia that sharks “are and always have been” in the water, but warmer than average water temperatures could be drawing more.

While it’s normal for bull sharks to venture down from northern regions during the summer, the near-record high temperatures experienced in January make Sydney Harbour even more attractive.

“It remains to be seen if this will be a cyclical thing, or if it’s going to be happening year, after year, after year due to global warming,” Mr Chlebeck said.

“But those warm waters will definitely bring more bull sharks and tiger sharks to the area.”

Swimmers advised to make 'smart choices' before entering water

While the sharks can pose a danger to swimmers, Mr Chlebeck doesn’t think the recent conditions have made the area any more dangerous.

Humans pose a greater risk to bull sharks than they do to us. Source: Getty
Humans pose a greater risk to bull sharks than they do to us. Source: Getty

“We just have to be make smart choices making when entering the water,” he said.

“That means we're swimming with a buddy, but also not swimming in extra cloudy water, or right after it rains, or in the middle of a ball of bait fish.

“Even when there’s a higher incidence of sharks due to the warmer water, I don't think we need to be any more worried or responsible than we already are.”

Bull shark numbers declining due to human activity

Bull sharks are generally opportunistic feeders, searching out prey which is injured or diseased.

They prefer to hunt at during both dawn or dusk when the light is low, but are most active in the evening.

Unprovoked shark attacks in Sydney Harbour are extremely rare, with humans generally posing a greater risk to sharks than they do to us.

Bull sharks generally live between 16 and 27 years in the wild, and grow to over two metres in length.

With numbers decreasing they are listed globally on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as vulnerable to extinction.

Destruction of foreshore habitat for development, the impact of extreme weather caused by climate change, and depletion of resources from industrial fishing are all believed to be leading to the species' demise.

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