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 of any 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 equipmentMaps
Cairns
  • Buchan Point Beach
  • Clifton Cairns Beach
  • Ellis Beach
  • Palm Cove Beach
  • Trinity Beach
  • Yorkey’s Knob
  • Holloways Beach
Townsville and Magnetic Island
  • Picnic Bay
  • Alma Bay
  • Nelly Bay
  • Florence Bay
  • Radical Bay
  • Pallarenda Beach
  • The Strand (Kissing Point)
  • Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island
Mackay
  • Blacks Beach
  • Eimeo Beach
  • Bucasia Beach
  • Harbour Beach
  • Lamberts Beach
  • South Lamberts Beach
Capricorn Coast North
  • Farnborough Beach
  • Yeppoon Beach
  • Cooee Bay
  • Lammermoor Beach
  • Emu Park
  • Fishermans Beach
  • Tanby Point
  • Mullambin Beach
  • Kemp Beach
Gladstone
  • Tannum Sands
Bundaberg
  • Bargara
  • Kelly's Beach
  • Neilson Park
  • Oaks Beach
Rainbow Beach
  • Rainbow Beach
Sunshine Coast
  • Alexandra Headland
  • Bribie Island
  • Buddina Beach
  • Caloundra
  • Castaways Beach
  • Coolum Beach
  • Currimundi
  • Hyatt Regency Resort
  • Marcus Beach
  • Marcoola Beach
  • Maroochydore Beach
  • Moffat Beach
  • Mooloolaba Beach
  • Mudjimba Beach
  • Noosa
  • Peregian Beach
  • Point Cartwright
  • Sunrise Beach
  • Sunshine Beach
  • Surfair Resort
  • Twin Waters Resort
  • Wurtulla
  • Yaroomba Beach
North Stradbroke Island
  • Amity Point
  • Cylinder Beach
  • Flinders Beach
  • Ocean Beach
Gold Coast
  • Broadbeach
  • Burleigh Beach
  • Bilinga Beach
  • Coolangatta Beach
  • Currumbin Beach
  • Elkhorn Avenue
  • Greenmount Beach
  • Kirra Beach
  • Kurrawa Beach
  • Main Beach
  • Mermaid Beach
  • Sheraton Mirage Beach
  • Miami Beach
  • North Burleigh Beach
  • Northcliffe Beach
  • North Kirra Beach
  • Narrow Neck
  • Nobby Beach
  • Palm Beach
  • Rainbow Bay
  • Staghorn Avenue Beach
  • Surfers Paradise Beach
  • Tallebudgera Beach
  • Tugun Beach

Download SCP gear locations (XLSX, 101.7KB) (includes coordinates)

Equipment currently used in Queensland

Nets

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 and 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.

Shark Control Program shark net arrangement. Image identifies net components (floats, shackles and acoustic alarms) and net dimensions.
© Queensland Government

Drumlines

Drumlines catch actively feeding sharks using bait attached to shark fishing hooks suspended from a large plastic float anchored to the sea bed.

Shark Control Program shark drumline arrangement. Image identifies drumline components (floats, anchor and hook) and drumline dimensions.
© Queensland Government

Sharks caught by the shark control program

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).