Science and research

Fisheries Queensland supports ongoing research as part of the SCP. The focus of research is to continually improve the shark control program using best available science.

Shark Control Program research strategy

The research strategy outlines priorities for the future to inform government investment into science and research. It provides opportunities for external researchers to collaborate and contribute to answering key research questions.

View the Shark Control Program research strategy

Fisheries Queensland is committed to collaborating with research institutions to address research priorities.

Researchers are invited to contact the Shark Control Program to discuss opportunities to get involved. Please contact the Research Coordinator (Shark Control Program) via scp@daf.qld.gov.au.

Scientific Working Group

The Queensland Shark Control Program Scientific Working Group, established by the Queensland Government, provides expert advice to Fisheries Queensland in relation to scientific matters relevant to the program and non-lethal shark bite mitigation in Queensland.

Read the Terms of reference and members

Follow the links to read the meeting minutes and communiques of the Shark Control Program Scientific Working Group.

Research into shark control alternatives

The Queensland Government has committed $1 million a year to research and trialling alternatives to current shark control equipment that may be appropriate for Queensland.

The Queensland Shark Control Program: Review of alternative approaches report prepared by Cardno was released on 3 October 2019. The report details an assessment of a range of alternative approaches to shark safety and recommends what may be appropriate for trial in Queensland. Read the Queensland Shark Control Program: Review of alternative approaches report.

Current research projects

Organisation or researcher Research focus Research timeline Reports Other notes
Biopixel Oceans Foundation and James Cook UniversityPrevalence and behaviour of sharks in Cid Harbour, Whitsundays December 2018 to June 2020Interim report – January 2019

Progress report – October 2019
This project is jointly funded by the Queensland Government and the Australian Government National Environmental Science Program.
Reef EcologicBoosting SharkSmart behaviours in the WhitsundaysNovember 2019 to early 2021 This project is aiming to boost SharkSmart behaviours in the Whitsundays. Working collaboratively with tourism, industry and community, it will test practical tools to help people adopt SharkSmart behaviours.

This project is jointly funded by the Queensland Government and the Australian Government National Environmental Science Program.

This project is currently on hold due to the impacts of COVID-19.
James Cook UniversityUnderstanding the science behind shark safety messagingMay to October 2020 This project is reviewing the scientific basis behind shark safety guidelines provided to the public by governments around Australia, South Africa and the United States. This research will inform the ongoing development of Queensland’s SharkSmart education program.

Previous research projects

Queensland large shark tagging program

Led by Dr Jonathan Werry, this 5-year program (2009 – 2014) monitored movements of Queensland's most dangerous shark species using satellite and acoustic tags. Fisheries Queensland contributed some funding for this project.

Tiger Shark research

Dr Bonnie Holmes collected biological information on tiger sharks in Queensland waters and monitored their movements using satellite tags.

Improving our technology

The SCP has explored advances in acoustic alarm/pinger technology for reducing entanglement of marine mammals.

Two different types of pingers were successfully trialled on nets and selected drumlines in southern Queensland. These pingers are now being used in the SCP. We will continue to monitor the use of acoustic alarm/pinger technologies as a potentially effective method to reduce marine mammal entanglements.

Trialling alternatives to current shark control equipment

Fisheries Queensland will be undertaking trials of new technology and equipment for shark control. The focus is on trialling options that are appropriate for Queensland coastal conditions.

Current shark control equipment trials

Organisation or researcher Research focus Research timeline Reports Other notes
Fisheries QueenslandCircle hook trial2020-2021 Comparative trial of circle hooks versus J hooks to assess the effect on catch rates of target and non-target species.
Fisheries QueenslandAcoustic pinger trial2020-2021 Trial of acoustic pingers (dolphin dissuasive devices) with the aim of reducing interactions of dolphins with drumlines.
Fisheries QueenslandGenetic SamplingCommencing 2020 - ongoing Collection of genetic samples from sharks to confirm species identification.