Shark control equipment
Shark control equipment
Shark control equipment is used to catch and reduce the number of potentially dangerous sharks near Queensland beaches. Shark nets and drumlines (baited hooks) are currently used to catch sharks passing through an area that could pose a threat to beach-goers. The equipment lowers risk, but does not provide an impenetrable barrier between sharks and humans.
We recommend you swim at patrolled beaches that have shark control equipment in place.
The Fisheries Act 1994 establishes an exclusion zone of 20 metres around shark control equipment. It is an offence for a person to be in the shark control equipment exclusion zone unless authorised and penalties may apply. The offence does not apply to boats transiting directly through the exclusion zone without stopping.
Beaches with shark control equipment
|Area||Beaches with shark control equipment||Maps|
|Townsville and Magnetic Island|
|Capricorn Coast North|
|North Stradbroke Island|
Download SCP gear locations (XLSX, 101.7KB) (includes coordinates)
Equipment currently used in Queensland
Nets do not prevent sharks from entering a particular area. They're intended to catch 'resident sharks' and sharks that pass through the area while feeding on bait fish.
Equipment is installed far enough offshore to prevent humans coming into contact.
The Shark Control Program's (SCP) large mesh nets are designed to target sharks over 2 metres long. The SCP aims to reduce the number of potentially dangerous sharks in particular areas rather than create an impenetrable barrier against shark attack.
Fisheries Queensland's net specifications are 186m long, a depth of 6m, and a mesh size of 500mm.
The nets are set adjacent to the shoreline according to the prevailing tides and currents. The topographical features of the area and sea conditions determine the nets distance from the shore.
Drumlines catch actively feeding sharks using bait attached to shark fishing hooks suspended from a large plastic float anchored to the sea bed.
Catch alert drumline trial
Catch alert drumlines are being trialled in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Catch alert drumlines use satellite technology to notify contractors when an animal is caught.
Find out more about the Queensland catch alert drumline trial.
Sharks caught by the shark control program
- Catch data (2001 to present): search on QFish
- Catch data for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (2001 to present) : search on the Open Data Portal
Equipment maintenance and monitoring
Nets and drumlines are serviced regularly, weather permitting by independent contractors. All equipment is removed from the water for maintenance and replaced with fresh equipment at least once every 21 days.
Sharks captured on drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
For equipment inside the Commonwealth Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, shark control contractors check the drumlines and visually assess the catch to determine the species. If a bull tiger or white shark is captured, where possible and safe to do so the contractor will tag the shark with an acoustic tag and/or dart tag and release it. All other animals are released alive if possible.
Sharks captured in nets and on drumlines in other Queensland coastal areas
For all other Queensland coastal areas outside the Commonwealth Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, shark control contractors inspect nets and drumlines and visually inspect the catch to determine the species. Target shark species are removed from equipment and euthanised. Non-target shark species are removed from the equipment and released alive if possible.
Target shark species
There are more than 100 shark species that are known to inhabit Queensland coastal waterways. 19 of these species are identified on the target shark species list.
Shark species that have been associated with unprovoked shark bites in Australia resulting in serious injuries or death are on the target shark species list.
Ongoing research and risk assessments are undertaken to inform any changes to the target species lists.
|Target shark species list|
Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)|
Bull whaler shark (Carcharhinus leucas)
White shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Australian Blacktip shark (Carcharhinus tilstoni)
Big Nose Whaler shark (Carcharhinus altimus)
Blue shark (Prionace glauca)
Common Blacktip Whaler shark (Carcharhinus limbatus)
Dusky Whaler shark (Carcharhinus obscurus)
Great Hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
Grey Reef Whaler shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos)
Long Nose Whaler (Spinner shark) (Carcharhinus brevipinna)
Longfin Mako shark (Isurus paucus)
Shortfin Mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)
Oceanic Whitetip Whaler shark (Carcharhinus longimanus)
Pigeye Whaler shark (Carcharhinus amboinensis)
Sandbar Whaler shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus)
Sharptooth shark (Lemon shark) (Negaprion acutidens)
Silky Whaler shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)
Silvertip Whaler shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus)
Bycatch in nets and drumlines
Other marine animals, also known as ‘bycatch’ can be accidentally caught in equipment. Fisheries Queensland is committed to minimising impacts on marine animals and releasing bycatch. See Protecting non-target marine life for more information.
Notices to Mariners
Maritime Safety Queensland issues 'Notices to Mariners' that provide marine safety information, including advice about where SCP equipment is located throughout the state.
Reporting an equipment issue
If you find equipment on the beach or notice equipment has broken free, please contact the SCP hotline on 1800 806 891 (free call within Queensland).