'Unsettling' shark numbers off Rainbow Beach

DRUM lines and shark nets have captured more than 380 sharks off Rainbow Beach since 2008.

The controversial shark baits have operated in Queensland waters since 1962 but conservationists maintain there is no evidence they keep people safe.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries data has shown 18 sharks were caught from January to March 2015 off Rainbow Beach - including five bull sharks and five tiger sharks.

From the 2008-09 season to summer 2015, 382 sharks were caught on drum lines, peaking in the 2010-11 and 2013-14 years when 68 sharks were caught.


The use of drum lines - secured floating drums with a long baited lines and hooks - has proven controversial. Their use was abandoned in Western Australia after the state's environmental protection authority said the impact on the protected great white shark population couldn't be foreseen.

But a Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries spokesman said the government prioritised the safety of people and constantly reviewed the use and location of drum lines.  

"The program uses drum lines to reduce the number of dangerous sharks in an area thus making it a safer place to swim. The program is constantly being reviewed to ensure that it remains as effective and efficient as possible," the spokesman said.

"Drum lines, as opposed to nets, are used to target certain species of shark that are attracted to a particular source of food such as tiger sharks."

The spokesman said while the government has invested in researching other ways to minimise shark attacks, "no new practical or cost-effective shark-proofing technologies have been developed".


Sharks caught off Rainbow Beach in summer 2015

Bull sharks - 5

Tiger sharks - 5

Dusky whalers - 2

Great hammerheads - 1

Long nose whalers - 2

Pigeye whalers - 1

Scalloped hammerheads - 1

Sharptooth shark - 1

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