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



DNA to play key role in bestiality court case

Reece Parke gives the middle finger as he is led into the police station.

Court waiting for test results before proceeding

Bluesfest director: Nobody knows why Neil Young cancelled on us

Neil Young  (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Director of Bluesfest seemingly throws some shade at Neil Young

Funding for our public reserves available

Public reserves could receive funding under a state government intiative.

Public reserve managers encouraged to apply for share of $15 million

Local Partners

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

MACKAY will play host to one of the world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John later this year.

MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Global superstar to rock Mackay in 2017

A major concert is set to rock Mackay this year.

Mackay, Cairns to host world's biggest superstars Sir Elton John

Robert Irwin introduces Jimmy Fallon to wild guests

Robert Irwin introduces Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to a cuddly sloth.

ROBERT Irwin continues Steve's legacy.

MOVIE REVIEW: Trespass Against Us a 'tender' crime film

Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson in a scene from the movie Trespass Against Us.

Tough British film about criminal clan proves touching

Crocodile, hippo fears as I'm A Celeb filming hit by flooding

Flooding hits the set of I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here!

Fears crocodiles and hippos could infiltrate I'm A Celeb camp

Calling all playwrights to compete in Hot Shorts

A Midsummer Night's Dream, a Drill Hall Theatre Company Production. Performer Ben Morrisey pictured at The Mullumbimby Drill Hall. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star

The Drill Hall Theatre's biennial short play competition is on again

Bluesfest director: Nobody knows why Neil Young cancelled on us

Neil Young  (Photo by Rich Fury/Invision/AP)

Director of Bluesfest seemingly throws some shade at Neil Young

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Proposed $21 million airpark in holding pattern

A front view of the proposed new aviation museum at Evans Head.

Late businessman's dream on hold ... for now

Clarence River island paradise selling for $5M

Former Ballina councillor Margaret Howes is selling her island getaway.

GALLERY: Tropical getaway with beaches and airstrip put on market.

Bidding could start at $1.4M for sought after property

Farrell McCrohon's Jojo Newby rides on a property recently listed at Buccarumbi

One of largest rural properties on market to go under hammer today

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!