Mid North Coast residents report heightened numbers of stingrays and sharks

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Mid North Coast residents have reported seeing a number of bull sharks and masses of stingrays in the Hastings River. 

Wauchope resident Dylan Perry said on February 6 and February 7 he and his friends reeled in four bull sharks. 

They caught the sharks in the Hastings River at Rocks Ferry Road in Wauchope. 

“We just wanted to warn all the locals not to swim after dark as our rivers are loaded with these small bull sharks,” Mr Perry said. 

Another resident reported seeing a fever of about 50 stingrays at the Settlement City weir.

Settlement Point Boatshed owner Gary Searle said he believes sightings of stingrays and sharks may be more prominent due to the dryness of the river.

He said marine species have to move further upstream and closer to the ocean to source their food. 

Mr Searle said sightings of big groups of stingrays in the river are common.

A spokesperson for the Department of Primary Industries said the department could not confirm if the population of stingrays in the Hastings River had increased. ​ 

“DPI is not currently involved in research involving stingrays,”she said. 

The spokesperson said bull sharks can feed on stingrays however their diet consists mainly of bony fish and small sharks.

The department’s number one priority is safety for those who participate in water activities. 

“We have a suite of measures and for Port Macquarie this includes aerial helicopter surveillance between Port Macquarie and Nambucca Heads which ran throughout the entire NSW school holidays,” the spokesperson said. 

DPI scientists are continuing their research to learn more about shark behaviour. 

The spokesperson said VR4G listening stations identify tagged sharks and one has been deployed in Port Macquarie.