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'Monster shark' so close 'we could've touched it': Fisherman

Update, 2.30pm: SOUTHERN Cross University marine biologist, Dr Daniel Bucher, said it was uncommon but not unknown for a grey nurse to be sighted in the Richmond River at Ballina.

"It's not common for a grey nurse to come into the river as they are more of an open-water ocean species."

After looking at the video, Dr Bucher said the shark looked like a grey nurse because of the two near-equal-sized dorsal fins were set fairly well back on the body, but the size was hard to tell.

He urged people not to make a habit of throwing leftover bait and fish guts in the water, especially near an estuary.

"Grey nurses are not known to attack people ... they don't have teeth that cut, they have holding teeth," he said.

"(But) it's not something you should be doing in the same spot as they do learn to come back and it could attract other undesirable species."

Shark in the Richmond River at Ballina.
Shark in the Richmond River at Ballina.

Update, 1pm: BALLINA resident and long-time fisherman Bernard Richter said he was still shocked over his fishy encounter yesterday afternoon.

"Me and my mate Benny decided to go for a quick afternoon fish and we were throwing a few soft-plastics around," he said.

"Before we knew it we thought there was one of those cormorants swimming around so I walked over to have a look and a big fin just pops up."

"A monster shark right in front of us ... we couldn't believe our eyes.

"It was huge and we think it was eight or nine foot."

Wanting another glimpse of the shark, they threw some fish frames in the water.

Mr Richter has been fishing his "whole life in Ballina" but next to the jetty isn't one of his "good spots".

"We thought a quiet Sunday arvo, have a beer and a bit of a throw," he said.

"I've been fishing here for 18 years now and I've never seen anything like it before."

He said the hungry shark popped in and out about five times and hung around for 10 minutes while there was "plenty of bait in the water".

It was an experience he hopes to have again, and he's not scared to get back in the water.

"I'd love to see that again," he said.

"I was swimming in the beach and river all day yesterday, I'll still go down there - it doesn't phase me."

 

Original story, 7.15am: WHEN Bernard Richter finished his afternoon of fishing at the wharf at the Richmond River in Ballina, he threw a few snapper frames in the river.

He wasn't expecting what happened next.

The frames were snaffled up by a large shark - and luckily, Bernard has the video footage to prove it.

"Not your usual arvo out fishing the river!!!!" he posted on Facebook last night.

"Threw some snapper frames in the water with Benny and this bloke rocked up ... definitely a once in a lifetime experience."

Bernard sent the video to The Northern Star, saying he was in "shock" and "still couldn't believe it".

His video has been viewed almost 5000 times and has been shared 65 times, with more than 160 likes.

Some of the commenters have suggested the shark was a grey nurse.

Topics:  ballina editors picks fishing richmond river shark wharf



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