Shark alert issued for Clarence River
By RODNEY STEVENS PALMERS Island fisherman Les 'Popeye' Law has issued a warning to people considering swimming in North Coast rivers following recent sightings of whaler sharks south of the Harwood Bridge in the Clarence.
Mr Law said people should be aware the waters were a known breeding ground for several species of shark, including the dangerous whalers.
"I don't advise people to swim in the Clarence River because there are sharks out there all the time," he said. "It might look tempting on hot days and you may go in all right but you might not get out again.
"The sharks come into the river from the ocean, swim around for a while, have their young then go out to sea again."
The well-known amateur fisherman, who proudly wears the tooth of a large great white shark around his neck, has caught many whalers over the past 30 years in the river.
"I have caught several sharks over the 10-foot mark off Palmers Island," he said. "I haven't seen a tiger shark or a great white caught in the river but I have seen plenty of whalers."
Mr Law said he displays the jaws of sharks he has caught in the window of his river-front home as a warning to swimmers.
"I put them there as a warning for people to stay out of the water but they take no notice of them," he said. Fishing writer Dick Richards said the Whaler sharks had been seen chasing schools of mullet in the river.
"I saw one whaler five to six years ago that had to be put on a boat trailer; it was between three and four metres long," he said.
"Anyone that is going swimming should be aware they are in the water at the moment."