Those who are concerned about dangerous sharks might be startled to learn that they do not exist only in the ocean, but in many lakes and inland waterways.
Such is the case to what might seem an alarming degree on Australia's Gold Coast, where an increasing number of anglers are targeting bull sharks in canals, rivers and lakes for catch-and-release enjoyment and, in some cases, removal.
These urban shark fishermen are said to be catching about catching as many as 100 bull sharks a week.
Kaiden Anderson, an ecology student at Griffith University, told the Gold Coast Bulletin, "I'll bet any money that in any canal or any patch of water on the Gold Coast there is a bull shark.”
Bull sharks are so plentiful in inland waterways – bull sharks are unique in that they can tolerate freshwater – that Griffith University has established a tracking program called the Urban Bull Shark Project.
(Bull sharks, which can grow to about 12 feet, have been blamed in the deaths of at least two people in Gold Coast waterways over the past 15 years.)
But anglers are becoming increasingly bold, at least in terms of revealing spots formerly kept secret.
The Bulletin revealed six top fishing spots and they include popular lakes and rivers.
Peter Ker, who runs the Gold Coast Fishing Fanatics Facebook community page, has been boasting about the publicity the page has received this week, with 9 News and the Daily Mail also having run stories – or are planning to run stories – about the increasing popularity of urban bull shark fishing.
Astonishingly, some of these potentially dangerous predators are being caught miles upriver.
Ker told the Bulletin: "At Palm Beach there is a lake that's not even connected to a creek and they still make their way in… It's a family park down there as well. I bet a lot of poodles go missing around that lake – I just hope people are aware of where they swim."
The Gold Coast Fishing Fanatics Facebook page has more than 9,000 followers, including some who are against shark fishing because of the danger it poses to the predators.
A commentator named Aaron asked, "If you don't eat ’em, what do u do with ’em after the trophy pics?"
The Fishing Fanatics’ reply: "Scientific Studies have been carried out on the Behavior of the Bull Shark in our Local Canals in an attempt to save lives. Most sharks are caught and released but some [anglers] keep the smaller ones which taste very nice if prepared properly."
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