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Tigers prowl Bundy waters but drum lines are a safety net

SAFER SWIMMING: The state government's Shark Control Program (SCP) includes 20 drum lines off the region's beaches. Photo Queensland Government.
SAFER SWIMMING: The state government's Shark Control Program (SCP) includes 20 drum lines off the region's beaches. Photo Queensland Government. Queensland Government

SWIMMERS at our region's beaches are being protected by shark drum lines, with 42 sharks caught last year, including a 3.82m tiger shark off Kellys Beach.

Placed strategically at our most popular swimming spots, for the past five years tiger sharks have significantly outnumbered any other species of shark caught in the drum lines.

Of last year's 42 sharks, 35 were tigers, four were bull whalers, one was a sandbar whaler and two were tawny sharks which were caught but released alive.

With nine drum lines at Kellys Beach, six at Nielson Park Beach, three at Bargara and two at Oaks, for the past five years the Kellys Beach drum lines have consistently caught the biggest tiger shark recorded in that year.

On November 9, 2014, a monster 4.15m tiger shark was removed from a drum line off Kellys Beach while a 3.95m tiger was caught on April 1, 2012.

Surf Life Saving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden said it was no surprise there were tiger sharks lurking in our waters given the region was known for its turtle population - a key food source for tiger sharks.

But Mr Holden said while he couldn't say for sure, he'd have to think the drum lines played some part in protecting swimmers given low number of shark incidents.

"There has been very few shark sighting this year and I can't remember a shark attack in the time I've lived here - which is 30 - 40 years," he said.

"In other years there have been more sighting but this season there was probably five at the most.

"There was an incident at Moore Park four or five years ago where a woman received a minor injury but there was some conjecture about whether it was a shark as it was never confirmed."

The state government Shark Control Program was established in 1962 after regular shark attacks at beaches led the Queensland Government to investigate the most practical and cost-effective methods of preventing shark attacks.

Trials were first conducted in South-East Queensland using baited hooks (known as drum lines) and large mesh fishing nets.

The trials demonstrated the effectiveness of the equipment, which was subsequently introduced at major beaches along the Queensland coast.

The SCP aims to reduce the number of potentially dangerous sharks in particular areas rather than create an impenetrable barrier against shark attack.

Tiger shark numbers

2015 - 35 (24 Kellys; 11 Nielson Park)

2014 - 37 (16 Nielson Park; 16 Kellys; 3 Bargara; 2 Oaks)

2013 - 40 (34 Kellys; 5 Nielson Park; 1 Bargara)

2012 - 30 (22 Kellys; 7 Nielson Park; 1 Bargara)

2011 - 33 (22 Kellys; 9 Nielson Park; 1 Bargara; 1 Oaks)

2015 tally

Tiger sharks - 35

Bull whalers - 4

Tawny sharks - 2 released alive

Sandbar whalers - 1

Topics:  beaches, queensland, sharks




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