Thanks to local photographer, Dan Kirkman from Something Visual for sharing this fabulous snap of an unidentified shark – possibly a critically endangered grey nurse – swimming towards an unsuspecting paddleboarder in Forster on the weekend.
This species became the first protected shark in the world when the NSW government declared it a protected species back in 1984.
Grey nurse sharks are now protected under fisheries legislation in NSW, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.
Globally, the species is listed as vulnerable.
Grey nurse sharks are often observed just above the sea bed in or near deep sandy-bottomed gutters or rocky caves, in the vicinity of inshore rocky reefs and islands.
The diet of the adult grey nurse shark consists of a wide range of fish, other sharks, squids, crabs and lobsters.
Until recently, the grey nurse shark had an undeserved reputation in Australia as a man-eater.
However, in 1990 the species was declared not a threat to divers or swimmers unless provoked.
Many shark attacks in Australia have been attributed incorrectly to the grey nurse shark often due to its fierce appearance.
The grey nurse shark's reputation led to indiscriminate killing of the species by spear and line fishers.