"THE sharks have always been there," according to retired professional fisherman Val Hayward.
The 70-year-old has been fishing the waters of Yeppoon his "whole life" but said the recently closed fishing waters were not likely to have contributed to the attack on a 31-year-old man off Miall Island on the weekend.
He said while changes in fishing laws dealt his business a harsh blow, forcing him to shut-up shop late last year, shark numbers were not about to fluctuate.
"We had a booming business, a bloody ripper business, but once something is shut down it will never open (again)," he said.
"I couldn't see (an increase in shark numbers) because it's only been shut for a month."
He said fishing trawlers, which were not affected by the amended fishing laws and still allowed to fish the waters off Yeppoon, were responsible for attracting sharks with bait thrown overboard.
"There are that many sharks behind trawlers you could almost walk on them," he said.
"It's still going ahead right off Main Beach, they are still allowed right along the whole coast line."
Mr Hayward said he caught hundreds of kilograms of fish fillets daily when his business was operating and up to 15 small sharks daily under his licence. "There are plenty of sharks," he said.
ALLAN Countryman, 31, is still being treated in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
Mr Countryman was spearfishing near Miall Island about 11.30am Saturday when he was attacked by a shark two to three metres in length.