FILE: A SUNSHINE Coast woman claimed she was ignored by staff at a popular tourism hotspot after she reported two shark sightings.
FILE: A SUNSHINE Coast woman claimed she was ignored by staff at a popular tourism hotspot after she reported two shark sightings.

Sharks sighted lurking around swimmers at tourist hotspot

A SUNSHINE Coast woman claims a shark sighting at one of the region's most popular swimming locations was ignored.

Penny Taylor posted on Noosa Community Board that she had seen bull sharks in the Noosa River near swimmers and kayakers.

Ms Taylor went to nearby restaurant, Noosa Boathouse, where she claims staff ignored her concerns and told her that warning people would be "bad for tourism".

"Well I can say with conviction that a child or person being taken or attacked whilst apathetic business owners look on would be much, much worse," she said.

She said people didn't have to be scientists to notice that shark behaviour was changing.

"People get off on the wrong foot about this, I don't want the sharks culled, it's us who need to change.

However, Noosa Boathouse owner Phil Bradford said none of his staff were approached with reports of a sighting and if there was a sighting in the Noosa River, he would be the first to warn people.

"It is ludicrous to say we would put the value of a dollar over the safety of people," he said.

"Not a single person I have spoken to about this possible shark sighting knows anything about it.

"And the only sighting of a bull shark in the Noosa River we have heard of was five years ago."

But he doesn't deny the bull sharks are out there.

"There's no doubt about it...but if there was a sighting I would be the first person jumping in and getting everyone out."

Ms Taylor said the behaviour of the sharks she saw was strange.

"Sharks do not come out in the middle of the day, especially in a river surrounded by boats, splashing, people and lots of movement.

"Their behaviour is changing; these two sharks were fighting each other."

She said she couldn't assume the scientific reason behind why, but said it could be to do with the decreasing amount of fish in the Noosa River and the canals.

The Noosa mother said she had grown up by the ocean and wasn't afraid of sharks, but the community needed to change their attitude towards the species.

"We created the environmental problem and we need to find a solution," she said.

"It would be very irresponsible of government bodies to pretend this is not happening, and wait until something does happen, to act.

"Noosa has the opportunity to be the leader here."

The Facebook post attracted a mixed response from Noosa residents, may who said that bull sharks in the river were common.

"They are around, we spend lots of time paddling canoes on the river," Bill Ridderhof said.

But resident Daniel Bakss said there was nothing to be done to about sharks in the river.

"(It's) bad for tourism because tourists are clueless," he said.

"If you said there was a shark, they would freak out like it was Jaws.

"Bull sharks are all through our rivers, better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by one."

Nathanael Ford said sharks were everywhere in the Noosa River.

"There is a family group that breed and live in the ski zones, that's why the zones are there," he said.

Leanne-Harry Bailey said the issue wasn't bull sharks in the water, more so that the staff kept it "hush hush".

Several residents argued that while it was not the responsibility of staff to warn of sharks in the water, priority should be placed on the safety of swimmers.


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