Shark sightings

SHARKS have been having an impact at North Haven recently, with a sighting of three in the river and a mauled dolphin washing up dead on the beach.

Last Thursday early morning surfers and joggers were surprised to see a very dead, decomposing dolphin on the beach near the breakwall, with three obvious bites made by something sizable leaving two big chunks missing from the carcass.

See the video taken by a local fisherman here.

North Haven residents John Hart and Shannon Cook detoured to look at the sad spectacle about the same time the Courier arrived.

Mr Hart said the size of the bites on the dolphin made him think it had been attacked by a white pointer shark.

White pointers are found all around Australia, he said, and “they like dolphins ... and turtles”.

Mr Cook wondered whether the dolphin’s death might be associated with three sharks he and numerous others had seen in the river two days earlier.

He had been walking on the breakwall and wondered “what the fuss was at the wash bay”. When he went to look he saw two sharks in the water competing for fish frames thrown into the river by a fisherman.

Other bystanders told him there were three sharks, although he saw only two, the larger of which he said was “12 to 15 feet long, at least”.

He had gone home and looked up information on sharks, leading him to believe they were grey nurses, because of the shape of their tails.

While only recently moved to North Haven, Mr Cook said he had “been coming here for 25 years” and that was the first time he had “seen sharks in there”.

One surfer was already catching waves and several more walked past the dead dolphin on their way to the surf.

Asked by the Courier if the sight put him off going into the water, one surfer said with a shrug that it didn’t.

Another commented that “there are always sharks out there, it’s where they live”.

Parks and Wildlife ranger Andy Marshall also inspected the carcass that morning, telling the Courier it was a coastal bottle nose dolphin, which from its state of decomposition looked to have been dead for from three days to a week.

It was also difficult to know if the bites had been inflicted before or after its death, he said.

Parks and Wildlife staff liaised with Port Macquarie Hastings Council, which organised a local team to move the decomposing dolphin from the popular surfing spot.

For a short video of a grey nurse shark in the Camden Haven River near Hughes Road visit www.camdencourier.com.au or see our Facebook page.

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