228 sharks have been caught on drumlines off Queensland's coast this year so far.
228 sharks have been caught on drumlines off Queensland's coast this year so far. Supplied

Sharks are in our waters, but your Xbox is dangerous too

SHARKS are in our waters.

Figures show a total of 228 sharks have been caught on drumlines off the Queensland coast this year alone.

Of those 228, 23 were caught in Bundaberg.

In 2016, 43 sharks were caught off the Bundaberg coast with the majority being tiger sharks.

State-wide, Townsville topped the list with 51 sharks caught this year.

Cairns and Gladstone had 24 sharks each while the Gold Coast recorded 21.

 

Bundaberg fisherman Dale Rockall shares photos of sharks which he says were close to the shore in the region.
Bundaberg fisherman Dale Rockall shares photos of sharks which he says were close to the shore in the region. Dale Rockall

The predators were caught as part of the State Government's Shark Control Program, which uses drumlines off the coast to reduce the threat of attacks on humans.

Drumlines are installed at Alma Bay, Florence Bay, Horseshoe Bay, Kissing Point, Nelly Bay, Pallarenda Beach, Picnic Bay and Radical Bay.

James Cook University Fisheries researcher Andrew Chin said there were more than 130 species of sharks and rays in North Queensland waters but most were harmless.

"That's a pretty impressive number of sharks and rays to have in one spot," Dr Chin said.

 

Bundaberg fisherman Dale Rockall shares photos of sharks which he says were close to the shore in the region.
Bundaberg fisherman Dale Rockall shares photos of sharks which he says were close to the shore in the region. Dale Rockall

"We've got all these different types of environments from Cleveland Bay to fringing coral reefs around Magnetic Island, rivers and estuaries.

"Most of them are not going to pose any threat to you. We do have tigers and bull sharks and the reasons they are potentially harmful is because of their size.

"When I'm in the water I'm far more worried about crocs and box jellyfish than sharks."

In Bundaberg, Surf Life Saving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden said drum lines had been in place for about 20 years and evidence suggested they were working to prevent shark attacks.

"The drum lines are checked and rebaited every two days by a contractor for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries," Mr Holden said.

 

Bundaberg fisherman Dale Rockall shares photos of sharks which he says were close to the shore in the region.
Bundaberg fisherman Dale Rockall shares photos of sharks which he says were close to the shore in the region. Dale Rockall

"We don't use nets because of the turtles - the by-catch would be catastrophic and it would completely destroy the tourism."

There are nine drum lines at Kellys Beach, six at Nielson Park, three at Bargara and two at Oaks Beach - the reinforcement at Kellys Beach is undoubtedly justified with the beach consistently recording the largest size and quantity of tiger sharks in the region.

Bundaberg people were quick to defend sharks, saying it was no surprise they were in Queensland's waters.

"It's not like they are stalking us in our natural habitat like a coffee shop or pub... Sharks swim in the Ocean, gee who knew," said Harriet McGarry Hancock.

Merryn Ridout was equally befuddled.

"Why are there sharks in the water? Get them out now, before they drown," she said.

Dr Chin reminded swimmers that sharks were a part of the environment.

"Everything you do has risks and if you go swimming you could get stung, you could get bitten or you could hit your head on a sand bank," he said.

"It's the ocean not a swimming pool, so the only way to eradicate the risk is to stay inside and play Xbox but then you will probably get RSI."



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