Rainbow Beach is in the big league
THE tropics remain dominant in the latest Queensland shark control figures, but Rainbow Beach was the shark-catch capital for big ones.
Shark control catch numbers released by the Maritime Safety Queensland this week revealed a 68% rise in numbers of sharks caught in nets and on drum lines last year.
A total of 99 sharks caught last year compared with 59 in 2010.
Townsville topped the numbers last year, with 213 sharks caught all up, compared with 125 in Cairns, 104 at Gladstone and 102 at Rainbow Beach.
But for sharks measuring 2 metres or more, Rainbow Beach topped the lot, with 74.
This compared with 2010 figures showing Townsville again at number one spot, but with only 119 sharks.
This tally was followed by 74 in Mackay, 72 in Cairns, 65 at the Capricorn Coast, 59 at the Sunshine Coast, 57 at Gladstone and Rainbow Beach well down the list, with 51.
For the big ones, Mackay, at 65, came in over Townsville at 47, Cairns at 30 and Rainbow Beach at 26.
Maritime Safety Queensland said there was no known reason for the increase, but said there were natural fluctuations in shark numbers along the coast.
"Higher-than-average catches could be a result of last year's large rainfall, which directly contributes to marine resources, as nutrient-laden fresh water plumes flow out into the ocean and kickstarts marine life cycles," a spokeswoman said.
"If there is an abundance of bait fish around, this attracts all sorts of predators, including sharks."
A Sunshine Coast lifeguard said visitors should not be alarmed, as there had been no increase in shark alarms.
Marine Safety Queensland offers the following advice on shark safety for swimmers and surfers:
- Swim and surf only between the flags at patrolled beaches with shark safety equipment
- Obey lifesavers' and lifeguards' advice
- Heed flags and noticeboard warnings
- Leave the water if a shark is sighted
- Do not enter water after dusk or before dawn
- Avoid murky or silt-laden waters
- Avoid rivers, river mouths, artificial canals and lakes
- Never swim alone, when bleeding or near schools of fish
- Do not swim near shark-control equipment