Shark ventures into N.S. harbour, steals mackerel from fishing lines

A Caribbean reef shark is seen in this file photo. Photo by Lawson Wood / SplashdownDirect / Rex Features

A peckish shark has been spotted snatching mackerel off people’s hooks on the Liverpool, N.S., waterfront.

Witnesses say the roughly 1.5-metre shark swam under a popular harbour bridge and into the estuary, grabbing mackerel right off their lines, along with their bait.

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Lyndon Mooers was fishing Tuesday night when he says he watched the shark grab the mackerel off three or four people’s line.

“Sometimes, he’d take their line and go with your mackerel jig, and take the line and go right off,” Mooers told New Glasgow News.

The shark sighting caused a stir in Liverpool, with local officials putting up warnings on the dock where people fish and swim, which some mistook for a Department of Fisheries and Oceans advisory.

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“The DFO has had reports of people seeing sharks in Liverpool Harbour,” said David Jennings, communications manager for the department. “The DFO has not done any posting of signs … that was an independent action taken by an individual, as DFO does not have a role in this particular case.”

A local official confirmed the Region of Queens posted the signs, but has since taken them down because there have been no further sightings.

Warren Joyce, a DFO fisheries technician, said in an interview Friday that while he has not seen the shark, based on reports, he believes it to be a porbeagle shark.

Joyce said the sharks are common to the region, and occasionally go into bays and harbours following schools of mackerel, but it is unusual to see the sharp-toothed predators so close to the shore.

His best guess as to why the shark swam so far into the bay: it was just following the food.

Joyce recommended people exercise caution if they see the shark, but said attacks are relatively rare.

“If people do see it … any videos or images would be great,” Joyce said. “Enjoy the view, because it is a pretty rare experience to see a shark around Nova Scotia.

“The ocean is their home, so their much better suited for that than we are.”


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