SHARK PARK: Tiger sharks, like the one pictured, were one of the most prevalent species caught over the course of three separate field trips to the Great Barrier Marine Park.
SHARK PARK: Tiger sharks, like the one pictured, were one of the most prevalent species caught over the course of three separate field trips to the Great Barrier Marine Park.

Alarming stat about the sharks in Mackay-Whitsunday waters

YET another report confirms the current catch and release shark strategy for the Mackay and Whitsunday regions will not work in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said Biopixel Oceans Foundation had been catching and tagging sharks in the area following the attacks last year.

"A number of sharks have either been recaptured or detected back in Cid Harbour after being tagged and released. This includes one tiger shark that was recaptured twice on the same day," Mrs Gilbert said.

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"Unfortunately, sharks don't immediately leave the area and head into deeper water for extended periods of time, like the white sharks that have been tagged in trials in New South Wales.

"We know that swimmers' safety is paramount, we can't put people's lives at risk, especially when they're at our most popular beaches."

Minister for Agricultural, Industry, Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said Biopixel's findings supported the results of an independent report published by Cardno earlier this month.

"The Cardno report found so-called SMART drumlines and a catch-and-release shark control program would be impractical and ineffective in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as sharks caught and released would likely move into other areas used by swimmers," Mr Furner said.

Research revealed a range of different shark species were present in and around Cid Harbour, including tiger sharks, spot-tail sharks, tawny nurse sharks, bull sharks, hammerheads and black tip sharks.

An alarming 57 sharks had been caught over the course of three separate field trips. Spot-tail and tiger sharks were the most common sharks caught during the trips and the largest was a 3.86m tiger shark.

The report also included preliminary results of a social science survey gauging the public's awareness, perceptions and attitudes toward sharks in the Whitsundays.

It is understood this data would be used to further develop the current SharkSmart campaign.

Mr Furner said the State Government would be doing everything it could to ensure swimmer safety.

"There's now 54 drumlines installed at popular beaches but many areas inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park remain unprotected," he said.

"The solution remains clear - the Federal Government needs to change course and legislate immediately to allow our longstanding catch-and-remove shark control program back into the marine park.

"We understand many people have strong views on this issue. We have listened and are investing $1 million a year to assess alternatives; however, they have to be appropriate for Queensland conditions."

Biopixel's final report on shark behaviour in Cid Harbour is expected to be released in June 2020.



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