Shark control equipment
Shark control equipment
Nets or drumlines (baited hooks), or a combination of both, are used as shark control equipment at Queensland beaches to minimise the possibility of shark attacks.
In February 2020, shark control equipment was returned to beaches within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Capricorn Coast North and Capricorn Coast South. Fisheries Queensland has re-installed drumlines in accordance with a new permit issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. The new permit requires shark control contractors engaged by Fisheries Queensland to release all sharks caught in nets or on drumlines within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as long as it is safe for them to do so.
Where possible and safe for the contractor to do so, contractors will tag bull, tiger and white sharks with external acoustic tags that do not require surgical incision or a vet on board.
Shark control equipment was previously removed from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in September 2019 following a Federal Court decision.
We recommend you swim at patrolled beaches that have shark control equipment in place.
Beaches with shark control equipment (as at February 2020)
|Area||Beaches with shark control equipment||Maps|
|Townsville and Magnetic Island|
|Capricorn Coast North|
|North Stradbroke Island|
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 human and shark interaction.
The Shark Control Program’s (SCP) large mesh nets are designed to catch sharks over 2 m in length. 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 and are 186 m long, a depth of 6 m, and a mesh size of 500 mm.
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 only fresh, natural bait attached to shark fishing hooks suspended from a large plastic float, which is anchored to the sea bed.
SCP equipment is serviced every second day by independent contractors who work under Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol supervision, weather permitting.
All fishing equipment is removed from the water for maintenance and replaced with fresh equipment at least once every 21 days.
Contractors also assist with collaborative research projects associated with the SCP and provide a 24-hour, seven-day service in case of emergency. Regular reviews are performed on contractor procedures and performance.
See Sharks control and swimming safely for a list of public beaches where SCP equipment is installed and equipment locations from the shore.
Notices to Mariners
Maritime Safety Queensland issues 'Notices to Mariners' that provide marine safety information, including advice of 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).