Stock pic of a tiger shark
Stock pic of a tiger shark Contributed

Sharks stalking our region's beaches

SWIMMERS can thank drum lines off our beaches for keeping the kings of the sea from causing chaos along our coast.

The Shark Control Program has recorded sharks captured by both nets and drum lines up to September this year.

Bundaberg only uses drum lines to catch sharks and this year 43 were caught with more than half being tiger sharks.

Drum lines catch actively feeding sharks with a shark hook suspended from a float, which is in anchored to the sea floor.

Surf Life Saving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden said the 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.

"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 Neilson 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.

A total of 23 sharks were caught off Kellys Beach: 18 tiger sharks, four pigeye whalers, one sharptooth shark and one unknown shark.

While the 4.09m tiger shark caught off Kellys Beach on May 29 was the biggest caught in Bundaberg's waters this year, it was small than a monster 4.15m tiger that prowled Kellys in November 2014.

Last year 35 tiger sharks were caught, 37 were hooked in 2014 and a massive 40 tiger sharks were reeled in 2013.

Mr Holden said while there would probably never be a way to completely avoid a shark attack, there were some safety tips surfers and swimmers could follow to reduce their chances of encountering a shark.

He said people should avoid times when sharks were most active, like dawn, dusk and night time, and also avoid schools of bait fish - "because a bigger fish is chasing them and the sharks chase those bigger fish".

"You should also avoid river and creek mouths, especially after heavy rain because all the water is stirred up and the sharks like that murky water."

The SCP started in 1962 to reduce the number of potentially dangerous sharks in particular areas.

2016 TALLY

  • Tiger sharks - 28
  • Bull whaler - 4
  • Pigeye whaler - 5
  • Sandbar whaler - 2
  • Unknown shark - 2
  • Sharptooth shark - 1
  • Spot-tail whaler - 1

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