New data show monster 3.67m shark caught off Capricorn Coast
ONE of the state's biggest sharks was caught off the Capricorn Coast in 2017.
The 3.67m long monster was one of six Tiger sharks caught in nets and drumlines off the coast, new figures show.
The biggest shark in the state was a 5.255m Tiger Shark caught at Gladstone.
The Capricorn Coast was one of the state's shark hotspots with 39 caught during the year.
Most of these were smaller Bull Whalers.
Shark nets and drumlines have been used for 49 years on the Capricorn Coast to keep swimmers safe.
The implementation of the safety measures were part of a roll out across the state as part of Queensland's General Shark Control Program which begin in 1962.
With the hot summer weather leaving many seeking a cool relief, a refreshing swim is on many minds these school holidays.
However, Member for Keppell Brittany Lauga is urging swimmers to be vigilant while enjoying the local beaches, creeks and rivers.
"The Capricorn Coast has some of the best beaches in Australia, and it's important that swimmers remain aware of the risks and take steps to carefully consider when and where they swim,” Mrs Lauga said.
Swimmers should also avoid swimming before dawn and after dusk, as these are the times when sharks are most active.
Swimming should also be restricted to patrolled beaches and between the flags where swimmers can be alerted and assisted if a shark is nearby.
Despite the Senate inquiry into the removal of the shark nets and drumlines and the implementation of "smart” drumlines, Mrs Lauga remains committed to the current program.
There has been one fatality on the state's beaches since 1962.
"Our submission to the Senate inquiry made it absolutely clear that the safety of humans is the priority and that any moves to remove the protections on our beaches will place lives at risk,” Mrs Lauga said last month.
"85 of Queensland's most popular beaches are protected by nets or drumlines in a program that has been supported by successive governments since 1962.
"We remain confident that the measures we have in place strike the right balance between protecting humans and the welfare of non-target species.
"The Palaszczuk Government's submission to the Senate Committee supported the views of Surf Lifesavers and surfers that there should be no interference with the program.”
Despite the 35 of the 39 sharks trapped last year being found dead upon arrival, "only one whale was not successfully released from a shark net” in the last 10 years.
"The department has fully trained marine animal release teams located at Mackay, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast,” Mrs Lauga said.
"These teams are expert in safe release techniques.”
The Department of Argiculture and Fisheries said although shark control equipment doesn't provide an "impenetrable barrier between swimmers and sharks”, the current program has been successful thus far at reducing shark numbers.
"The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries continues to monitor the progress of alternative shark deterrent technology trials being conducted in New South Wales,” said a spokesperson.
"If new technologies are shown to be effective in preventing marine life fatalities and are practical for use, they will be considered by the Shark Control Program.
"Based on the evidence to date, traditional capture methods remain the most effective measures to reduce the risk of a shark attack.”
To stay safe, follow these important safety tips:
- Swim or surf only at patrolled beaches and between the flags
- Obey lifesavers' and lifeguards' advice, and heed all sign and safety warnings
- Do not swim or surf after dusk, at night or before dawn when sharks are most active
- Do not swim or surf in murky waters
- Do not swim in or near mouths of estuaries, artificial canals and lakes
- Never swim alone
- Do not swim with animals.
For more information on shark control in Queensland, visit www.fisheries.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.