Robin Denyer of Ballina caught a hammerhead shark while fishing on the Richmond River.
Robin Denyer of Ballina caught a hammerhead shark while fishing on the Richmond River. Contributed

Shark caught in Richmond

ROBIN Denyer of Ballina was fishing peacefully on the Richmond River when something odd happened - a hammerhead shark took his bait.

The species is usually found in deep oceans, not shallow rivers, and Mr Denyer was shocked when he reeled the 90cm shark in with a beginner-sized rod on Saturday.

"That's the first time I've caught one. I've never heard of anyone else catching a hammerhead in the (Richmond) River," he said.

The recreational fisherman was on a boat near Burns Point Ferry when he caught the shark.

Dr Danny Bucher, a senior lecturer in marine biology and fisheries at SCU's School of Environmental Science and Management, said while it was unusual that a hammerhead would be in an estuary, there was no reason to be alarmed.

"It would have just been foraging," he said.

"At that size they are only feeding on small-to-medium-sized fish so they would have chased them into estuaries."

Mr Bucher said while the large grey hammerheads have been known to attack humans, most were bottom feeders, preferring sting rays.

He said sharks' parents generally "move on (after giving birth) and leave their pups to fend for themselves".

"The female sharks also move away from the male sharks to give birth, which acts as a safety factor for the young sharks."

Although the juvenile hammerhead which Mr Denyer caught was less than one metre long, the experience had still turned him off swimming in the area.

"(The shark's) teeth wouldn't take a chunk out of you but you'd know you've been in a battle with it. I let it go - I might regret that," he said.

"There's no reason a half decent shark wouldn't get up the canal. Just be careful where you dip your big toe."

Mr Denyer said people were swimming nearby when he caught the shark and his grandchildren went swimming near Burns Point Ferry yesterday.



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