Shark fishing - safety first


© Queensland Government

Shark fishing is a popular recreational activity in some parts of South East Queensland. However, anglers must remember that sharks are dangerous predators and that fishing for sharks is extremely risky.

Anglers who target sharks must do their part to minimise the risk to themselves and other waterway users.

Do your part – SharkSmart safety advice for anglers

  • Only fish for sharks away from swimmers and other waterway users. Fishing for sharks near people on and in the water can put others at risk.
  • Keep fish waste and food scraps out of the water where people swim. Dispose of your scraps and rubbish in a bin on land.
  • Never chum or berley (scatter bait on the water to attract sharks) in areas where people swim. Sharks can be caught effectively with the correct rig and baits. Unnecessary berleying in areas where people swim can attract a larger number of sharks which can be dangerous for other waterway users.
  • Handle sharks correctly. Follow correct handling techniques to release sharks safely and assist shark survival.

Correct shark-handling techniques

  • If you catch a shark larger than 1.5 metres, set it free by cutting off the trace/line.
  • If you catch a shark smaller than 1.5 metres, handle it with a wet towel. Where possible keep your hands, feet and body well clear of the shark's mouth. Anglers and bystanders should always stand well behind the animal's pectoral fins, and where possible behind the tail fin. Restrain the animal with one hand on top and behind the first dorsal fin, with the other hand on top and behind the second dorsal fin. Keeping hands behind the dorsal fins stops the hands from sliding forward towards the shark's mouth when it thrashes. Be gentle - do not squash the shark's internal organs.
  • Return the animal to the water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid removing hooks unless preparations have been made in advance. Never remove hooks by hand. Use bolt cutters to remove the barb from the hook, and use pliers or other hook-removing devices to remove the hook.
  • Use rapidly degrading hooks.

Protected sharks

The following sharks are protected throughout Queensland and should be handled using the above techniques. These sharks are prohibited from being in anyone's possession without a permit:

Check the rules

Make sure you have the most up-to-date rules and regulations for recreational fishing, including shark catch.

Find out how you can do your part and be SharkSmart.