Shark fishing - safety first

Photo of a shark taking a snapper

Correct handling techniques can help minimise risk to anglers, while ensuring the survival of the shark.

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 act responsibly to minimise the risk to themselves and safeguard the safety of local residents, swimmers and other users of the waterways.

Safety advice for anglers

  • Consider others.Avoid fishing for sharks in areas used by swimmers and other waterway users, such as kayakers.
  • Do not berley.There is no need to berley for sharks - they can be caught quite effectively with the correct rig and baits. Unnecessary berleying attracts a larger number of sharks to an area, thus making it more dangerous for other waterway users.
  • Handle sharks correctly.Following the correct handling techniques for releasing sharks is important for personal safety and for the survival of the shark.

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 keeping 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.

Last updated 18 March 2011