Shark nets are not barriers to the open sea. These devices, installed at beaches spanning hundreds of metres, are essentially flapping pieces of fishing gear. They are installed at beaches along Queensland’s coastline. Shark nets do not prevent sharks from swimming over, under or around them.
The nets are between 124 – 186m in length and are set ~500m from the shore. They are dropped 6 metres deep into the water and anchored to the sea floor. These nets remain in the water all year long at 86 beaches in Queensland, excluding the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park .
Queensland also deploys lethal drumlines. These are baited fishing-hooks that are designed to hook and kill animals.
Queensland’s program targets 7 species of sharks. Sadly, if any of these sharks are caught on a shark net or drumline outside of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, they are killed.
The QLD shark control program kills tiger sharks, bull sharks, white sharks, Australian blacktip sharks, Common blacktip sharks, Dusky whaler sharks and Grey reef sharks.
In comparison, in New South Wales if a target shark is found alive, it is tagged and released.
This is known as an active culling program, which scientists have found don’t work to reduce shark bites.
The QLD shark control program indiscriminately harms all marine life - not just the sharks that the program is targeting. Between 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2023, the QLD shark control program has caused the following damage.