From: Jennifer Hanson, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
Lake Nipissing is home to three visiting Brazilians.
“Happy,” “Harry” and “Sir Bites-A-Lot,” three juvenile bull sharks from Port Suape in eastern Brazil, were released into Lake Nipissing Sunday evening.
“We had a little ceremony for the sharks,” says handler Bruce Rechin. “Most people on the dock found it pretty interesting. Playing the theme from Jaws might have been a bit much though.”
The sharks are part of a pilot project aimed at eliminating invasive fish species in Ontario’s lakes.
“The basic idea is that a bull shark will eat just about anything, and that will no doubt include a very healthy diet of invasive species like black crappie and carp.”
While Rechin can’t guarantee “that they’ll only eat those fish” he says he has a feeling they’ll be the main course.
“I whispered that those were what they should eat into where I think their ears are before I released them.”
Happy Freshwater Sharks
Those worried that the sharks won’t survive need not, says Rechin.
“Unlike other sharks, bull sharks are fully capable of living in fresh water,” explains Bruce.
When mature, “Happy,” “Harry” and “Sir Bites-A-Lot” will each weight over 200 lbs., be 7+ feet long, and will be able to swim up to speeds of 19 km/hr.
But could any of the sharks be accidentally caught by fisherman?
“It’s very unlikely. Bull sharks are positively ferocious, and are actually known to attack fishing boats, so I think our little buddies will be A-OK.”
Those concerned about swimming in a lake that’s home to 3 incredibly aggressive predators shouldn’t be, says Rechin.
“Lake Nipissing is a very big lake, and it’s only 3 sharks. Just remember to swim with a friend and maybe don’t go in after dark.”
Bruce says North Bay should embrace the sharks.
“They could be the city’s new mascots,” smiles Rechin. “We’re the first Ontario city to introduce sharks in our lake, so I think we ought to count our blessings and be happy!”
Other northern Ontario cities are looking at similar programs.
“I know that Thunder Bay just got 300 freshwater piranhas,” says Rechin. “But between you and me, I’d never go into that lake again with them swimming around. All those teeth?”
“Freaks me right out.”