The feared bull shark
The feared bull shark

The beaches where sharks roam revealed

SCORES of lethal tiger and bull sharks were among the hundreds of marine predators caught in the State Government's controversial shark catch program on the Great Barrier Reef.

The majority of sharks were caught at popular Gladstone beach Tannum Sands and at Magnetic Island's snorkelling hotspot Florence Bay.

Horseshoe and Alma bays on Magnetic Island were also popular catch zones.

Figures show 240 sharks were caught in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - which runs east of Bundaberg to Cape York - in the last financial year.

Man-eating tiger sharks comprised the bulk of those caught, with 80 snared in the program.

Another predator - the aggressive bull shark - was caught 71 times.

However not all sharks hooked by the baits are on the program's kill list. More than 50 non-targeted sharks were caught, including dozens of spot-tail whalers, many of which also died.

Non-shark species caught by the drum lines include cod, catfish, a shark ray and even a humpback whale which was released alive.

About 50 sharks overall were released alive with the rest either found dead or euthanised by officials.

While Queensland's Shark Control Program stretches down the east coast, 27 protected beaches exist in the Great Barrier Reef area.



More than a 170 drum lines - or baited hooks - are positioned off beaches at Cairns, Townsville, Magnetic Island, Mackay, the Capricorn Coast and Gladstone.

Drum lines were temporarily installed at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays following near fatal attacks on Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick and Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps in September.

They had been removed by the time of a third attack November, also in Cid Harbour, which claimed the life of young Melbourne doctor Daniel Christidis.

The reef's shark control program took a hit in April when animal welfare group the Humane Society International effectively had it shut down through a tribunal.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal ordered the drum lines must be monitored and healthy sharks released.


A Shark is caught on a drum line in Cid Harbour.
A Shark is caught on a drum line in Cid Harbour.


The government initially suspended the program saying the tribunal's orders were unfeasible.

However the program resumed shortly after when the Federal Court allowed it to go ahead pending a government appeal.

That appeal has now been heard with a judgment expected in coming weeks.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said the program ran under "strict conditions".

"The Marine Park Authority's role is to regulate and consider the permit application for the activity," a spokeswoman said.

"The Authority permitted the Queensland Shark Control Program subject to strict conditions such as creating a scientific working group to identify non-lethal alternatives to drum lines."

Daniel Christidis.
Daniel Christidis.