MOST bull shark attacks are a case of mistaken identity.
But in another case of mistaken identity, the inspiration behind the famous Peter Benchley book Jaws, and subsequent films, may not have been great white shark attacks at all, but rather attacks by the bull shark which also cruise up and down the Brisbane River in their hundreds each day.
The QT has previously reported on the plethora of bull sharks being caught in the Brisbane River, and Bremer, by fishermen.
It is one reason why Ipswich City Council is set to put a 'beware of sharks' sign at the Goodna boat ramp in coming days.
A fascinating article in National Geographic revealed just how appropriate that warning sign is when it discussed how experts believe the July, 1916 attacks along the New Jersey shore may have been made by a bull shark and not a great white
Two of those killed, 12-year-old Lester Stillwell and 24-year-old Stanley Fisher, were taken in Matawan Creek.
In the article expert Scott Davis is quoted as saying that "in my tracking studies, I've never noticed great whites going upstream" and "my perspective is that great whites would not be able to tolerate a freshwater environment at all".
Ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques Cousteau, also believes the Matawan attacks point to a bull shark and says the species is remarkable in so many ways because it can "switch from salt to fresh water which...for most sharks would be deadly".
Cousteau adds that "they really aren't interested in us and usually an attack is a mistake".
The murky waters of rivers can lead to mistaken identity and bull sharks have killed people in the canals on the Gold Coast, so Ipswich City Council is now alerting people to the risks locally.
Bull sharks have been founds thousands of miles up the Amazon River according to the article quoted above.
Cr Paul Tully, who represents Goodna and suburbs along the Brisbane River, is intrigued by the National Geographic story.
"The bull sharks are permanently in the upper and lower reaches of the Brisbane River," he said.
"It is a hotbed of sharks.
"They have killed people in the Gold Coast canals and it does not surprise me at all that the inspiration for Jaws could have been bull sharks because bull sharks are often the unseen predators of our waters.
"That is why we need to be vigilant about reminding the community about the dangers around boat ramps, to avoid swimming in the Brisbane and Bremer rivers and ensure that when they are launching boats and jet skis to be mindful of their own safety and particularly children."
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