A diver gets up close and personal with a shark near the Great Barrier Reef. More than 100 sharks were caught off the coast last year.
A diver gets up close and personal with a shark near the Great Barrier Reef. More than 100 sharks were caught off the coast last year. AAP RICHARD FITZPATRICK

Shark tagging would improve information but not safety

PLENTY of sharks travel up and down the coast of Queensland, with species from whale sharks to tiger sharks roaming waters off the Capricorn Coast.

With more than 100 sharks caught off the coast last year, The Morning Bulletin spoke to CQUniversity marine biologist Dr Andrew Irving about whether shark tagging would benefit the region.

"Tagging would provide more information on sharks, which would be great," he said.

But Dr Irving also explained that not every shark could be tagged, so there was always a chance of one being near a beach.

Shark tagging received plenty of attention on the Sunday Night program recently. It showed how OCEARCH, a scientific team, tags great white sharks off the east coast of the United States.

According to the program, the Australian Government isn't getting onboard the US team's specific tagging program.

And for the time being, the Queensland Government is seeking more information on shark species.

A Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry spokesman said an independent researcher was undertaking a "large shark tagging program", tracking movements of some of the most dangerous species.

The research, which is partly funded by the Queensland Government, is expected to give an understanding of the behaviour of dangerous shark species.

"By understanding shark movements, we can ensure shark control equipment is strategically positioned to reduce the threat to humans and minimise impact on non-target marine species," the spokesman said.

And Dr Irving would be happy to see more research done.

"There's certainly tiger and bull sharks in the region," he said. "I think they're around more than what we know, which is scary.

"But at the same time they aren't attacking frequently.

"From a scientist's point of view, it would be wonderful to have information on sharks' movements and behaviours."

SHARK STATISTICS:

Sharks 2m and over caught from 2012-2013

  • Capricorn Coast - 22
  • Tannum Sands - 3
  • Mackay - 83

All sizes of sharks caught from 2012-2013

  • Capricorn Coast - 137
  • Tannum Sands - 46
  • Mackay - 94

Source: oesr.qld.gov.au/



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