Bull sharks go back home to give birth
BULL SHARKS born in Sunshine Coast river systems mature and travel south, connecting with populations off and inside Gold Coast waterways.
A forum at Maroochydore this week will be told females, following distinct chemical cues from each river system, return to where they are born to give birth to their own pups.
Dr Jonathan Werry, of Ocean and Coast Research, is running a bull shark monitoring program to better understand the lifecycle and habits of bull sharks.
He said animals from 1.5m and up regularly move between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, although one has been tracked as far north as Cairns and another south to Bondi, in Sydney.
The sharks stay in the upper reaches of river systems where salinity is low, moving down the systems as they mature before leaving in search of mates offshore as they reach six to seven years of age.
One female, measuring 2.7m in length, was recently tracked entering the Noosa River during pupping seasons. She stayed two days before heading back to sea, presumably after giving birth.
Dr Werry says the sharks appear to be similar to marine turtles, which also return to where they were born to give birth.
The forum on all things coastal will be held at Maroochy Surf Club next week.
Staged by Sunshine Coast Council, it will consider everything from the plan to manage the potential ocean breakthrough of Bribie Island and into Pumicestone Passage, the results of a recent CSIRO study into marine debris, through to the early results of Dr Werry's monitoring program.
There will also be discussion about council's coastal management programs and turtle nesting and hatchling survival.
"Through its many programs, council invests in maintaining healthy waterways and foreshores, however we can't do that alone and the community play a key role in both supporting and participating in the work that we do," council environment portfolio head Jenny McKay said.
Other presentations will include the Bribie Island Breakthrough Investment Plan with Dr Matthew Barnes of WBM; results of the recent CSIRO marine debris research with Dr Chris Wilcox; natural areas coastal management with Conor Jenkins; turtle hatchings flood impact with Kate Winter; Gold Coast City Council coastal program with Shannon Hunt; and Bunya Bunya mangrove project with Kerry Jones.
Anyone wishing to attend the free forum can book on the council's website, through the events hub.
The forum will be held in the Maroochy Surf Club Function Room, Cotton Tree on May 5 from 9am to 3.30pm