Lifesavers warn against swimming in murky water.
Lifesavers warn against swimming in murky water.

Fifty-two sharks caught off coast

WITH 52 sharks already caught off the Capricorn Coast this year, the danger is only set to get worse as it heats up.

But Yeppoon Surf Lifesaving Club captain Jason Thompson warned swimmers not to panic and, instead, swim safe.

Mr Thompson said usually about 80 sharks were caught off our coast each year.

This year, the biggest shark caught was a 3.8m pigeye whaler, and 18 of the 52 caught were more than 2m long.

Mr Thompson said the Capricorn Coast had more issues with stingrays on the beachfront than sharks.

In 10 years he has worked for the club, he said the beach had only shut down once due to sharks.

“But talk to any fisherman and they (sharks) are there. However, beach sightings are more rare and they tend to be in more surf areas.”

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin yesterday released the latest shark statistics and urged people to follow safety advice.

In total, across Queensland, more than 500 sharks have been caught this year in shark nets or on drum lines.

In 2008, a total of 578 sharks were caught in Queensland.

Mr Mulherin said in addition to the size of the sharks caught off the Capricorn Coast, tiger and bull sharks made up more than half the catch.

He said tiger and bull sharks were our most dangerous species.

And with rain and warmer weather descending on the coast, the shark movement is set to increase, particularly with bull sharks.

Mr Thompson encouraged swimmers to think of their own safety.

“The main thing is don’t swim at night, at sunset or sunrise, as it is shark feeding time. Also don’t swim alone,” he said.

Shark safety
  • Do not swim or surf after dusk, at night or before dawn when sharks are most active
  • Never swim when bleeding
  • Do not swim with animals
  • Never swim alone
  • Obey lifesavers’ and lifeguards’ advice
  • Heed all signs and safety warnings
  • Swim or surf only at patrolled beaches and between the flags

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