Shark tales: Dr Amy Smoothey fits an electronic tag to a Clarence River bull shark that’ll be tracked over 10 years via underwater acoustic listening stations.
Shark tales: Dr Amy Smoothey fits an electronic tag to a Clarence River bull shark that’ll be tracked over 10 years via underwater acoustic listening stations.

Shark research ongoing in Clarence

A SHARK research project in the Clarence River should give scientists an unprecedented insight into the lives of female bull sharks during the next decade.

Twenty-five sharks have been tagged as part of the Industry and Investment NSW study.

Following similar research in Sydney Harbour, the river study will track juvenile male and large female sharks up to 2.5 metres long.

Bull shark researcher Dr Amy Smoothey said the local colony is particularly important given it is home to large breeding sharks, rarely found off Sydney.

“We'll use listening stations in the Clarence River stretching from the coast at Yamba upstream into the fresh water reaches of the river,” Dr Smoothey said. “We'll be able to see the distance and travel patterns of the sharks we've tagged over the next 10 years and see if they leave the river into the ocean.

“A bull shark tagged in Sydney Harbour travelled the coastline to Lady Elliott Island off The Great Barrier Reef, travelling more than 1000 kilometres before returning to the harbour again last summer. Before this research we knew very little about how far the bull sharks travel.”

Bull sharks are commonly found in warm, shallow waters and are among the three shark species most likely to attack humans, along with tigers and great whites.

The study is also taking note of the sharks' age, growth, size at sexual maturity and diet.



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