Swimmers urged to be cautious for sharks after cyclone

News release | 03-Apr-2017

Fisheries Queensland has issued a warning to beachgoers to be vigilant for sharks which may be in areas where they’re not usually seen, following last week’s cyclone.

During a major flood event, sharks are known to swim or be washed out of rivers and into nearer onshore beaches where the water is currently turbid and visibility is poor.

Shark activity in these areas is expected to increase and this could mean a higher risk to swimmers.

Swimmers should take care at the beaches and follow these safety tips to reduce the risk of shark attack.

• Swim or surf only at patrolled beaches and between the flags
• Obey lifesavers’ and lifeguards’ advice, and heed all sign and safety warnings 
• Leave the water immediately if a shark is sighted 
• Do not swim or surf after dusk, at night or before dawn when sharks are most active 
• Do not swim or surf in murky waters
• Do not swim in or near mouths of estuaries, artificial canals and lakes 
• Never swim alone 
• Never swim when bleeding 
• Do not swim near schools of fish or where fish are being cleaned 
• Do not swim near or interfere with shark control equipment 
• Do not swim with animals. 

Shark control equipment which was removed for safety reasons during Cyclone Debbie last week will be restored progressively to Queensland beaches as the weather permits.

Rough seas, strong winds and debris along the coast are continuing to prevent the return of shark control equipment.

At Mackay, sharks nets at Harbour Beach are unlikely to be returned to the water until early next week and there are three shark control drumlines missing including two from Lambert’s Beach and one from Eimeo Beach.

On the Sunshine Coast, it’s hoped all 11 shark control nets which were successfully removed before the weather system can be returned to the water over the next 48 hours. Two shark control buoys which have reportedly washed ashore will also be replaced.

On the Gold Coast, five shark control nets removed from Main Beach, Miami, Bilinga, Kirra and Coolangatta are yet to go back in, as well as the three nets and drumline surface floats at Rainbow Beach. This equipment is expected to be in place again in the next 48 hours.

If people see shark control gear including ropes, netting or buoys which has come loose, they should call the Shark Hotline on 1800 806 891.

Follow Fisheries Queensland on Facebook and Twitter (@FisheriesQld).

Media contact: Dianne Bye, (07) 3087 8601