Resident spots 20 bull sharks stalking Brisbane River: 'AMAZING'

In a rare sighting in the Brisbane River a shiver of 20 sharks has been captured on video.

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

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

While they can be tricky to see from a distance, when Mr Baleeiro zooms in on the animals at least 10 can be seen in the murky water, some travelling alone while others swim in small groups.

Stills from Paulo Baleeiro's video show at least 6 bull sharks swimming near the Story Bridge
The resident said he could see "around 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 has never seen a shark in the river until the moment he recorded the video.

"I was surprised, and it took me a while to realise it was a pack of bull sharks," he told Yahoo News Australia. "Then I decided to make the video because I knew that was not normal and that it was so cool.

"Fortunately, I didn't see people with their dogs by that time of the day (midday) on the other side of the river, where some make their dogs chase balls in the water. And sometimes I see people swimming as well. Now imagine the disaster."

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 towards Howard Smith Wharves," he said, referring to a popular Brisbane dining precinct at the base 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’re there but have never seen them. Water looks murky as well,” one man wrote.

“Way too many for my liking!” someone else added.

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

Dr Daryl McPhee, Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Bond University on the Gold Coast, said it wasn't uncommon for bull sharks to be seen in groups of similar-sized individuals. He told Yahoo News it's currently breeding season for the sharks in the Brisbane River.

"Adult bull sharks enter rivers for breeding and the newly pupped juveniles head up river," he said. "Bull sharks of various sizes can be found from the mouth of the river right up to Colleges Crossing. Exactly where they are is often influenced by the amount of summer rainfall."

aerial photos of sharks swimming in the Brisbane River
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 most fatal bites on humans and serious injuries".

"However, the risk of a shark bite is very low and drowning while undertaking water-based activities is a much higher source of human fatalities.

"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 specific 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 seen.

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