News

Oops! Is that your tinny? Sharks bite boats by accident

Daniel Fleming believes this same shark attacked his boat twice within six months near Pottsville. Photo: contributed by Daniel Fleming
Daniel Fleming believes this same shark attacked his boat twice within six months near Pottsville. Photo: contributed by Daniel Fleming Daniel Fleming

SHARKS that have "attacked" small boats on the North Coast recently are unlikely to have done so deliberately, a professional fisherman has said.

And University of Newcastle shark expert Dr David Powter said the magnetic field emitted by a tinny was similar to the field emitted by the living creatures sharks like to eat.

Kingscliff resident Daniel Fleming yesterday said he believed his boat had been attacked by the same shark twice within six months and Byron Bay fisherman Robbie Graham was knocked into the water less than a fortnight ago when a white pointer charged his tinny.

BACKGROUND:

Dr Powter, a University of Newcastle lecturer in environmental science, said the shark that attacked Mr Fleming's boat was a great white.

Dr Powter said sharks were usually attracted to fishing boats by blood in the water and weakened fish.

However, there is another reason why they can tend, on occasions, to attack small boats.

"Sharks have an electro sense with which they detect the weak magnetic fields living things produce, an electric field which is replicated by an aluminium boat," Dr Powter said.

"It's not uncommon they would explore objects because of that sensory information they are receiving."

"A lot of it has to do with whatever is in the water at the time, it's getting a whole of information and then naturally responding to that sensory information."

News of Mr Fleming's and Mr Graham's run-ins follows a run of shark incidents and attacks on the Northern Rivers.

Byron part-time professional fisherman Mark Stewart, who had his own face-to-face encounter with a great white at Cape York a few years ago, said such incidents were usually accidental and a result of a shark going into a "frenzy" while chasing fish.

"They're not trying to knock the person out of the boat to eat them," Mr Stewart said.

Several years ago during a fishing expedition off the tip of Cape York a shark - believed to be a tiger shark - charged his friend's boat and bit the propeller.

"It bent the blades so we couldn't get into gear… we had to get towed back to the beach and get the propeller fixed," he said.

"It happens quite often."

Mr Stewart added that this year was an exceptionally "bad year" for shark numbers, with a steady stream of sightings, reports of line fisherman losing their catch, and the tragic fatal attack on Tadashi Nakahara last month.

"We've got a lot of pelagic species moving through with the warm water, this year we've had exceptionally warm water, it's one of the longest spells of warm water I can remember. That

"There's more sharks this year than this area has ever seen."

Last week Ballina Shire Council held a meeting with shark experts and Tweed Shire Council (Byron Shire Council was invited but chose not to attend) to discuss technologies to make beaches safer, including aerial patrols and sonar detection.

Topics:  great white sharks, sharks




Forget fast food and pub grub - try Casino's new restaurant

Brian Conderan is opening a new restaurant at the Oxford Hotel in Casino called Top Deck.

"This town has never done this kind of menu before."

Body of missing man recovered by police divers

The man went missing on Wednesday after his car was swept off a bridge on Martins Road into floodwaters at Larnook.

Days of searching after car swept into floodwaters

Car crashes into shops in main street of village

A car has crashed into shops in the main street of Bangalow.

The driver has fled, but shops have been significantly damaged

Latest deals and offers

GANGgajang brings new and old hits

STREETWISE: The band at the opening of GANGgajang Way in Bundaberg, Queensland, last year.

Iconic Aussie band returns to Lismore

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m