Sharks join fishers as they chase the mackerel this season

SHARK sightings on the Byron coast are at their peak at this time of year as they prey on seasonal bait fish, say local experts.

"March and April has the warmest water temperatures and you will see increased shark activity with the warmer water," Danny Bucher from Southern Cross University said.

Dr Bucher, senior lecturer in marine biology and fisheries at the university, said sightings of sharks will be more common as warmer currents bring in seasonal baitfish.

The shark sightings will likely drop off again as the water cools in late autumn, Dr Bucher said.

Local fishers and surfers have reported seeing more bronze whaler and bull sharks in coastal waters over the past few weeks.

Commercial fisher and surfer, Mark "Mono" Stewart said there had been an increase in shark activity near Julian Rocks because of extra mackerel around.

"There's been mackerel and tuna around and fishers are losing every third fish to a shark," he said.

As well as increased shark sightings at Julian Rocks, surfers have been seeing more sharks on surfing beaches, Mr Stewart said.

"There seems to be a lot of them in close over the last month," he said.

"We've seen what we think are bronze whalers about 1-1.2m long at The Pass."

North of the shire, fishers had been reporting more sightings of bull sharks on the coast from Brunswick Heads up to South Golden Beach, lured by mullets and a bumper mackerel season.

"The mackerel season runs over February and March with spanish and spotty mackerel, but could extend to August depending on the weather," he said.

Sharks would be following the three types of mackerel spawning.

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