A grey nurse shark.
A grey nurse shark.

Is the water really ‘teeming’ with sharks?

AN EXPERIENCED Northern Rivers diver has agreed with the government's assessment that shark numbers in Northern NSW waters are within normal range for this time of the year.

The assessment comes after a number of online surfing magazines published articles saying local water were 'teeming' with sharks.

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A spokesman confirmed in the past week NSW DPI researchers tagged two white sharks and one tiger shark in local waters.

"This number typically fluctuates according to environmental conditions and seasonal movements. There is no evidence to suggest white sharks have changed their pattern of seasonal movement in recent years," he said.

The spokesman added that NSW DPI tagging and tracking data indicates that juvenile white sharks are more frequent in North Coast waters over winter and spring.

"While there are some generalised movement patterns, the tagging and tracking data clearly show that sharks can be present in NSW waters at any time."


Lennox Head diver Andrew Nieuwenhof captured a Grey Nurse on video and posted it on social media on the weekend.
Lennox Head diver Andrew Nieuwenhof captured a Grey Nurse on video and posted it on social media on the weekend.


Lennox Head diver and member of Sea Shepherd's Apex Harmony campaign (to end shark-killing programs), Andrew Nieuwenhof, agreed with DPI's assessment of the number of sharks in the water.

"From my experience, and other divers - we talk about this - there are no more (than normal)," he said.

"There are periods we might see the odd great white or maybe a couple of bull sharks," he said.

Mr Nieuwenhof, who dives around Julian Rocks twice a week, said grey nurse sharks are congregating in the area.

"This year we are seeing quite a few of those," he said.

"Grey nurse sharks are critically endangered, in fact they are on the brink of extinction."


Grey nurse sharks ignoring social distancing at Julian Rocks. But our crowd, Tom Hughes, Alison Coote and Brian-Lyn...

Posted by Andrew Nieuwenhof on Saturday, 1 August 2020


Grey nurse sharks are well known for not attacking humans unless provoked.

"They are here during winter months," the diver said.

"We are seeing quite a lot of them with hooks in their mouths and lines trailing, but one of the great joys of diving is being in the midst of grey nurse sharks."

DPI suggested water users to be 'shark smart' when using the beach by checking conditions before swimming, leaving the water if baitfish and birds are present, buddying up with a friend, avoiding sandbars, river mouths and steep drop-offs and not swimming in murky water.

Details on the Shark Smart program are available from www.sharksmart.nsw.gov.au.