A commercial fisherman has caught five bull sharks in a popular camping spot on the NSW Mid North Coast.
The giant sharks were pulled out of the Macleay River, within 100 metres of swimmers.
The haul comes a month after a man was attacked by a shark at nearby Nambucca Heads.
“I’ve seen some monsters at sea, but never in the river,” shark catcher Billy Brislane said.
But he was just as stunned by what he found inside the sharks’ stomachs: a large dolphin, stingrays and baby sharks.
Mr Brislane says his haul is a warning as to what’s lurking below the surface in popular tourist spots.
The creatures were reeled in just 100 metres away from swimming children, meaning they pose a risk not just to surfers, but also to families paddling closer to shore.
Bull sharks travel far inland from the ocean, swimming in very shallow river waters.
As they’re not a protected species, recreational fishermen can catch five a day. For commercial fishers, there is no limit.
Mr Brislane is endorsed as a commercial fisherman, and the catch was within his rights.
“Commercial fishermen are not sports fishermen, we are fishermen who bring back product for people to eat,” said Tricia Beatty, the CEO of the NSW Professional Fishermen’s Association.
“We harvest fish sustainably and ethically, and people that buy their seafood from their co-op or their fish shop have that guarantee,” commercial fishermen Geoff Blackburn said.
The catches have already arrived at the Sydney Fish Markets, to be sold as flake.
Mr Brislane said he will keep fishing in rivers – he just won’t be swimming in them.