Monster sharks hooked near tourism hotspot
MONSTER tiger sharks have been hooked on drum lines just outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park only months after the State Government had to abandon its catch-and-kill program inside the tourist destination and despite numerous attacks, including a fatality in the past year.
The catches have raised concerns about protection of tourists and swimmers within the park.
And it can now be revealed that taxpayers are still being slugged for drum lines removed from the park. The state has allocated $2.5 million for contractors to manage shark equipment for 2019-20.
Twenty-two sharks have been caught just outside the tourism hotspot, including a 3.85m tiger shark off Mackay, since September 18.
SCROLL DOWN TO SEE ALL THE SHARKS CAUGHT SINCE SEPTEMBER 18
Meanwhile, two more of the predators - one 3.4m and another 3.7m - have been caught off The Strand in Townsville.
It joins news of another shark attack - the second in less than six weeks - at Bargara near Bundaberg on Saturday night.
A 38-year-old man suffered lacerations to his foot while freediving after the shark nudged him.
In late October, two British tourists were attacked in Hook Passage, off Airlie Beach. One of the victims had his foot bitten off.
That was the fifth Whitsundays attack inside a year, including the fatal mauling of Melbourne medical researcher Daniel Christidis, 33, in Cid Harbour late last year.
The Government removed 160 drum lines from the Commonwealth marine park in September after the Federal Court upheld the Administrative Appeals Tribunal's ruling, which meant Queensland must abide by a catch-and-release program.
Since the ruling, 83 drum lines have been placed just outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Tourism bosses have called for the introduction of smart drum lines - which have a GPS tracker to alert authorities when a shark is caught - however, the state claims they would cost about $100,000 a day to maintain.
Although drum lines have been removed from the park, The Courier-Mail can reveal that taxpayers will continue to stump up cash for them.
A recent Question on Notice revealed: "Although drum lines have been removed from the Commonwealth marine park, existing contractual arrangements will continue in the short term until this matter is resolved". LNP deputy leader Tim Mander said taxpayers were being slugged for nothing.
"Not only is Annastacia Palaszczuk recklessly leaving swimmers unprotected and risking tourism jobs, Labor is wasting taxpayers money on phantom drum lines," he said.
"Labor need to stop putting lives at risk and put the drum lines back in."
Fisheries Minister Mark Furner said: "Nobody can shark-proof the ocean, but we need to do what we can to help people keep safe."
He said the contractual arrangements to maintain drum lines were commercially sensitive and confidential.
Sharks caught just outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park since September 18:
Spot-tail at The Strand - 1.1m
Bull whaler at The Strand - 1.15m
Tawny shark at South Lamberts (Mackay) - 2.45m
Tiger shark at Harbour Beach (Mackay) - 3.85m
Tiger shark at Harbour Beach - 2.78m
Tiger shark at The Strand - 3.7m
Spot-tail at Tannum Sands - 0.74m
Bull whaler at Tannum Sands - 0.75m
Scalloped hammerhead at Harbour Beach (Mackay) - 1.23m
Bull whaler at Tannum Sands - 0.94m
Long nose whaler at Tannum Sands - 2.3m
Tiger shark at Harbour Beach - 2m
Tiger shark at The Strand - 2.15m
Tiger shark at The Strand - 3.4m
Sp ot-tail caught at The Strand - 1.14m
Bull shark at Harbour Beach (Mackay) - 2.35m
Tiger shark at Tannum Sands - 3.01m
Spot-tail shark at Tannum Sands - 0.7m
Bull shark at Horseshoe Bay (Magnetic Island) - 2.1m
Spot-tail caught at Yorkeys Knob (Cairns) - 0.7m
Black-tip whale at Horseshoe Bay - 2m
Dusky whale at Tannum Sands - 1.1m