SHARK CONTROL: 'Is it worse than the disease?'
THE Queensland Government has defended its increasingly controversial shark control program, despite claims it catches more non-target species than it is worth.
The latest criticism, from Sea Shepherd, also includes claims that excessive shark culling is also an environmental risk.
Sea Shepherd dismissed the program as "clumsy and ultimately unnecessary".
Queensland has taken a far different approach than New South Wales by boosting its budget for shark culling near popular beaches.
The 72 potentially dangerous sharks caught off beaches at the Sunshine Coast and nearby areas, including Rainbow Beach, were among 473 "dangerous sharks", including great whites, tigers, bulls and hammerheads, The Sunday Mail has reported.
This is a slight improvement on the 489 in the 2016-17 year.
But only one great white shark was caught off Rainbow Beach, the report says.
Fisheries Queensland Shark Control Program manager Jeff Krause said the State Government continued to support the program, with nets and drumlines used at 85 beaches.
He said the State Government had provided an extra $2.1 million over four years.
The program has been repeatedly blasted by environmental groups over the killing of non-target species.
Mr Krause said the government's Scientific Working Group was aimed at improving the program's effectiveness and exploring other shark control technologies, including non-lethal methods.
Seas Shepherd says more than 8000 protected animals have been killed, including 79 loggerhead turtles, 442 manta rays and 33 critically endangered hawksbill turtles.