Sydney’s first fatal shark attack in 60 years happened less than 10 days ago and a long-time fisherman says he has never seen so many of the predators in the city’s waters.
Al McGlashan, ocean photographer and fisherman, warns shark numbers around Sydney Harbour have reached the highest levels in 30 years.
Simon Nellist was killed by a 4.5-metre great white on February 16th at Buchan Point near Little Bay. This is a famous beach for swimming and fishing and has not seen a deadly shark attack in years.
This attack coincides with reports of a boom in shark numbers and activity around Australia’s biggest city.
“I've caught more sharks this year than all the years combined,” Mr McGlashan, who has fished in Sydney for 30 years, told The Daily Telegraph.
“It's ridiculous – you just catch them one after the other.”
McGlashan suggested that the warmer waters could be drawing the sharks closer in shore and nearer to people.
He has reportedly seen an increase in bronze whaler and hammerhead shark numbers, especially around Long Reef.
Bull shark numbers are high too, driven by large amounts of fish in the harbour.
He claimed that while fishing, bronze whalers end up on his hook every time, whereas, in previous years, they were rare.
Bronze whalers grow up to three metres and, while not usually aggressive, they are potentially dangerous to humans, according to Museums Victoria.
However, bull sharks are usually regarded as being the main threat to swimmers.
'[A bull shark is] a large, robust shark that is responsible for many fatal attacks on humans,' Museums Victoria said.
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While great white sharks close to shore are much rarer, their power and size, which can go up to 6.4 metres, means they can potentially kill humans with an exploratory bite.
Although they’re known to enjoy cooler waters, they will happily exist in water up to 24 degrees. On the day of the shark attack, the waters were 25 degrees.
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At the time, Mr Nellist was training for a charity swim and had voiced opposition to extra shark protection being introduced for swimmers.
There have been several theories as to why the shark took Mr Nellist, the most popular being that as he was in a wetsuit the shark thought he was a seal.
One local said: “Fishing and swimming should not be done in the same area where these shark swim.”
This week Mr Nell's shattered fiancée shared a touching photo of the day he proposed.
The 'love of his life' Jessie Ho, uploaded a photo on Sunday showing them together by the water in 2019.
Their family was supposed to attend the wedding, but will instead attended a memorial service in his memory.
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