Shark Baiting Already a Reality in Queensland

THERE has been much commotion in the Australian media about the Western Australian government’s plans to introduce drum lines to cull an increasing shark population.

While the ABC has been interviewing experts from around the world about the potential impact of this program on shark populations, I’m yet to hear any mention of the current program that has been in place for decades now off the east coast of Australia.

Indeed just off Lammermoor Beach, near where I live some of the time in central Queensland, you can see yellow plastic floats. They are attached to chains with large hooks and fresh meat designed to lure and kill sharks. yellow float with text

The local paper proudly announces the kill at the end of each year. A total of 111 sharks were caught off the combined Capricorn Coast beaches of central Queensland in 2013. The breakdown is as follows:
43 bull whalers
23 long-nose whalers
18 tiger sharks
12 blacktip reef whalers
9 spot-tail whalers
3 great hammerheads
2 sandbar whalers
1 bronze whaler

I often walk along Lammermoor Beach but I don’t much swim there. I find the yellow plastic floats off-putting, along with the stingers, stingrays, and I worry about encountering a wandering crocodile. In fact very few people swim at Lammermoor beach so I wonder why they even bother with the baiting program?

The history of the Queensland program is detailed here:

“The Queensland (QLD) Shark Control Program was introduced to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns in 1962 and was extended to include Townsville and Mackay in 1963. Since then, the Program has been extended to include Rockhampton (Capricorn Coast) (1969), Bundaberg (1973), Rainbow Beach (1974), Tannum Sands (1983) and Point Lookout (1984) (QLD DPI, 2003). There have been frequent changes to the location and configuration of shark control equipment (mesh nets and drum lines) within each of these areas since the Queensland Shark Control Program was implemented in 1962 (Anon, 1998). The most recent major change to the configuration of shark control equipment occurred in 1992 and 1993, following a review of the operation and maintenance of shark meshing equipment in Queensland (Anon, 1992). In 1992 and 1993, mesh nets were replaced with drum lines in many areas, in order to reduce the catch of non-target marine species, such as dugongs, dolphins and whales.

In Queensland, mesh nets and/or drum lines are currently used on 84 beaches, within 10 districts (known as contract areas). The Queensland Government reports that a total of 338 drum lines are deployed across the 10 contract areas and a total of 37 mesh nets are deployed across 5 contract areas (Cairns, Mackay, Rainbow Beach, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast). Nets are replaced with drum lines during whale migration and turtle seasons in some areas (Anon, 1998). In Queensland, shark control equipment remains in the water the entire year round, except in Cairns and Rockhampton (Capricorn Coast) where equipment is seasonally removed (Anon,1998; Queensland Shark Control Program). Each piece of equipment used in the Shark Control Program is serviced every second day, weather permitting (QLD DPI, 2003). Regular servicing of equipment means that non-target marine species caught on shark control equipment are more likely to be released alive.”

Picture of Lammermoor beach with yellow float taken sometime over the last year.

30 Responses to Shark Baiting Already a Reality in Queensland

  1. DaveMyFace January 25, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Perth Now:

    “Up to 72 drumlines are due to be deployed after the government announced Fisheries staff would bait and monitor the hooks in Perth and a fisherman had been contracted to patrol the South-West.”

    And then comes RICKY Gervais (who the stuff is this bloke?) and a host of other British celebrities have backed a campaign to stop WA’s plan to catch-and-kill sharks.

    Here’s the photo on the front page:

    He says
    1. Listen to facts.
    2. Listen to science.
    3. Listen to reason.
    4. Stop the shark cull.

    Well isn’t that terrific, a few UK celebs, 4,000 protesters gathered earlier this month.

    What do they know about sharks, well sweet blooody little.

    Are they missing the big picture ? YES.

    63 to 290 million sharks are killed every year for their fins alone for the Asian (China & Japan) food market. Average over the last 14 years is 100 million per year or 1.4 billion dead sharks total over this period.
    And we want to drum line some beaches in WA, well the twitter verse goes ballistic with RICKY and his merry band of ignorant followers.

    Do any of these puppets realise they’ve been had? No, they would be better off putting their efforts into preventing really huge numbers of shark killing (especially shark fining) world wide. Unfortunately the GREEN movement has been taken over by ignorant people with a saving a few white pointers and labeling CO2 as pollution, while the real environmental damage goes on.

    Probably Ricky is in Hong Kong having Shark Fin soup.

    Europe (Spain & Portugal) are still doing this. Look at this photo and multiply it by tens of thousands around the world.×350.jpg

  2. Hasbeen January 25, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    I read somewhere about this bloke with a theory. Darwin I think his name was.

    He had this theory about species & their survival. Something about survival of the fittest. The fittest survive, & the less fit diminish, or disappear entirely, or some such.

    It would appear that for some centuries the human has been the fittest species, & has not only survived, but prospered.

    Now all this talk is about species, not just a few individuals. So we have to try to support the whole species. Not just the high-rise living subspecies in cities, nor those who only walk upon a beach.

    We support those who have to drive to work, with traffic lights, roundabouts, safety fences & the like. Hell we even have building regulations to help preserve those high-rise living in the event of fire.

    What does become a problem is when those high-rise livers, drivers, & those who walk upon beaches decide one subspecies, those who swim in the sea should no longer be supported, & is dispensable.

    I am surprised at you Jennifer. Having watched you valiantly defend the masses from the sub-species climate scientists, & fight the water thief, a South Australian subspecies on behalf of the Murray-Darling farmers & irrigators, I did not expect to find you throwing the ocean swimming subspecies to the wolves, or sharks as it is in this case.

    Once we decide any other species has greater rights than our own, we are on the slippery slope to extinction. None are dispensable.

    I have watched with some amusement, the alcohol drinkers join the mob in attacking the nicotine smokers for some years, wondering when it would be their turn for attack, still it gives me no pleasure to see it happening.

    I am not sorry to say, if it takes the removal of a thousand sharks to save one person the horror of a shark attack, it is a good swap to me.

  3. John Sayers January 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Surely there’s a correlation between increased Marine Parks, more fish, more sharks.

    The Howard government doubled the number of marine parks and reduced the number of trawlers considerably. According to Walter Starck Australia has the third-largest fisheries zone in the world and the lowest harvest rate, at only about 3% of the global average.

  4. Jennifer Marohasy January 26, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

    Hi Hasbeen

    I didn’t think I was offering an opinion either way.

    But I have queried why they bait off Lammermoor Beach.

    However, if they are going to make a commotion about baiting in WA, there should be some acknowledgement that it already happens along the east coast?

  5. sp January 26, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

    QLD shark baiting was recently mentioned in the WA media – after the protests, etc.

    I think it was a Paul Murray opinion piece in the West Australian?

  6. spangled drongo January 27, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    I used to help a mate who had a Qld shark baiting contract 30 years ago and at that time, as a result of alarmist press stories about shark attacks, the introduction gave a nervous tourist industry confidence which made a big difference to Qld tourism.

    The lack of deaths to sharks as a result has caused a reversal in people’s concerns which is understandable but Hasbeen does have a point.

  7. Nick Kermode January 27, 2014 at 9:12 am #

    That is most certainly not a drum line in that photo.

  8. jennifer January 27, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    Hi Nick

    The drum line set-up used in Queensland, including off Lammermoor beach, is detailed here…

    All that is visible from the shore are two or three yellow floats. The above photograph shows one of the yellow floats.

  9. jennifer January 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    PS We have fair tides so at times the floats seem a fair way out and at other times way too close to the actual shore. I’m yet to put on a mask and check that there is a hook with meat attached. I do go snorkelling off Great Keppel Island and don’t like the shark that I see there.

  10. Larry Fields January 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    The shark baiting article reminds me of a basic idea from Chem 101: La Chateliers Principle. Basically, you start out with a system at equilibrium. Then you perturb the system. The system will ‘fight back’ in such a way as to minimize the effect of the disturbance.

    The classic example starts with a mixture of two gases: NO2 and N2O4 in dynamic equilibrium, in a cylinder. Pump down on the cylinder, so as to increase the pressure, and decrease the volume. If you decrease the volume ever so slowly, the heat generated will pass into the surroundings, and the temperature in the cylinder will remain essentially constant. Now an interesting thing happens. Consider the following equation:

    2NO2 = N2O4

    (I used an equal sign, because I don’t know how to make the usual double arrow symbol.) At higher pressure, the equilibrium will shift. LCP predicts that this will be in the direction towards more N2O4, and less NO2. By the Ideal Gas Law, this equilibrium shift will decrease the pressure somewhat, such that the overall pressure increase will be a bit less than one would expect. The system has fought back in its own charming way.

    There’s an interesting thing about many laws in the physical sciences. Initially, the mathematical form of the law applies only to one phenomenon. Over time, it’s found that the same mathematical form will apply to other phenomenon. Example: The inverse-square law applies to both gravitational attraction, and to electrostatic attraction.

    A similar thing should apply to LCP. And there’s a new name for it: Homeostasis of Risk. (However this is not a universally accepted idea.) Basically, people are comfortable with a certain level of risk in a number of situations. If you decrease the risk in one type of activity, something interesting happens.

    Example: There’s a sharp bend on a certain rural highway. Over the years, it has claimed the lives of many nighttime drivers, who enter the curve at high speed. The locals call it Dead Man’s Curve. Eventually, the Highway Department decides to do something about the problem. Their engineers estimate that putting up some extra illumination at Dead Man’s Curve will cut the fatality rate in half over the next few years. The assumption is that everyone drives as carefully as they do.

    Yes, the drivers will have a better view of the road further up the curve, and CAN adjust their vehicle speed accordingly. The key word here is “can.” What the engineers did not count on was that a few sports car drivers would INCREASE their speed a bit. Why?

    The extra lighting gives an extra margin of safety. These drivers increase their speed in order to maintain their risk at the same comfort level as before. (You can substitute “adrenalin rush” for “risk” in this case.)

    The net effect: The extra illumination does save lives, but not as many as the engineers had first estimated. The system has fought back in its own perverse way, in accordance with Homeostasis of Risk, which is an extension of La Chatelier’s Principle.

    Now substitute “shark baiting” for “highway illumination.” And substitute “surfers,” “swimmers,” “snorkellers,” and “scuba divers” for drivers.” La Chatelier’s Principle strikes again!

  11. Johnathan Wilkes January 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm #


    equal sign followed by a greater than symbol

  12. Larry Fields January 27, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    Hi Johnathan,
    Thanks. However I was interested in the double-arrow that goes in both directions. That symbol is used to describe reversible chemical reactions.

    My understanding is that “=>” means “implies.” Example: blood alcohol of .08 => DUI.

  13. Johnathan Wilkes January 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    <> ?

  14. Johnathan Wilkes January 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    I wouldn’t bother, even in MS word it’s too complicated.
    We know what you mean.

  15. Graeme M January 27, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Sometimes the views of many of the commenters here are so far from what I would consider thoughtful that I wonder if I am backing the wrong side. What scares me is so often when I examine the opinions of many sceptics I find exactly what those on the Left lampoon.

    Why just yesterday I followed a link from JoNova to another sceptical blog and found a US nutjob who seemed to really believe that the right to bear arms is a right given by God… Spare me.

    The WA shark cull is a kneejerk reaction to an insignificant problem and I for one would be happy to stand up and tell them to stop it right now.

  16. DaveMyFace January 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Graeme M,

    Queensland has had the Shark Safety Program that was implemented in 1962, and with QLD population growth in 1962 of about 1.5 million to nearly 5 million.

    Queensland stats on shark fatalities.
    1900-1936 26 Fatalities
    1937-1973 27 Fatalities
    1974-2013 16 Fatalities

    And because of this I’m a skeptic and a gun toting nut job? Graem M, you are very wrong and just following the crowd.

    The shark kill worldwide is approx 100 million per year with a majority just finned and the carcass thrown overboard. Most of the shark fins get traded legally through Hong Kong, but the estimates of the illegal trade is unknown.

    Queensland netted or baited approximately 6,600 small and large sharks over the last ten years and many were sold onto the seafood market. The increase in tourism in QLD has also grown because it is safe to swim. The revenue has been exponential for this state, and shark control is now extending to aerial, lookouts, and enclosures, only possible because of the savings due to the initial shark safety for swimmers.

    What have you done to try and prevent the 1.4 billion sharks slaughtered worldwide in the last 10 years. Australia (and NZ) have a complete ban on shark fining. Have you had shark fin soup? Well, worldwide this little dish is still increasing in popularity everyday. SLSA has started implementing drones to monitor un-patrolled beaches for sharks etc, adding to the safety of tourists and local alike.

    I disagree with all culling, but the WA one is getting too much attention, reaction and money, compared to the shocking slaughter no one wants to talk about.

    Graeme M, here is a video showing this horrendous trade:

    Environmentalism is about this massive 1.4 billion sharks slaughtered worldwide, not the first ONE in WA with all the publicity.

    So none of the views are thoughtful, eh? What have you bought to the table, a bowl of soup?

  17. Luke January 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Yay GraemeM

    Do you get to have a really big gun if you join?

    On the shark issue:

    (1) Is it effective
    (2) Is there a major problem
    (3) Is there a long term effect on species populations to significant detriment of their overall survival or wider marine ecosystem disruption
    (4) Bycatch?

  18. Johnathan Wilkes January 27, 2014 at 7:36 pm #

    “The WA shark cull is a kneejerk reaction to an insignificant problem “

    Tell that to the dead. I think they’d disagree.

    Put all that aside, if you are referring to Hasbeen’s post, yes his arguments are a little too far fetched but I can follow his reasoning.
    We are looking after the safety of all people everywhere, why, we have guard rails installed on Ayers Rock of all places.

    And that was his point, if we are trying to make every possible situation as safe as possible why not the sea, at least close to shore?

    I personally happen to agree with you about the sharks up to a point, invading their territory an all that stuff, but where is the boundary of that customary territory?

    If they change their behavior and come in close to shore, becoming a menace to swimmers I see some action as necessary. Also I can see Jen’ point about her beach where hardly anyone swims anyway, why cull there?

    As to idiots? They are everywhere.

    Also what are you expecting from climate sceptics? A uniform line of thinking on every issue?

    I’m a climate sceptic because I followed the data closely and it does not add up, nothing to do with my political views.

  19. sp January 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

    I often walk a Perth suburban beach in the early AM during summer – 5.30-6am – the sun rises in the east and in the AM the wind is from the east (generally) and tends to “hold” the wave a bit and delay it breaking. With the sun behind ones back, it is easier to peer into the ocean (the beach floor drops off at about 45 degrees and gets deep quickly). I regularly see many large sharks not too far from shore – about 1 km south of this beach is a very popular “family” beach – early morning swimmers, followed by families from about 10am – a number of people have been killed by sharks at this beach over about last 10 years. I wont swim there anymore, and am nervous even when on a wave-ski – my choice, and yes, I have lost my “bottle”. There do seem to be more shark sightings, and I think more sharks. Shark nets may protect some bathing beaches, but surfers, wind-surfers, etc cannot be protected this way – I think some baiting is reasonable and should be carefully monitored. My somewhat jaundiced view is the most of the protests come from the usual suspects, the professional protesters, the ones who are always waiting for a cause to protect about. Ricky Gervais can stick his campaign where the sun dont shine – he does not swim, surf or dive where these sharks are. My opinion.

  20. Graeme M January 28, 2014 at 5:55 am #

    I know from experience with the whaling issue that any in depth discussion of my views id futile. Closed minds and all that.

    1. What on earth has shark fin soup got to do with this post? There is no relationship and it is plain dumb to suggest that because one thing happens somewhere we should excuse another thing here.

    2. I have never eaten shark fin soup and never would. I have personally contributed to groups who try to stop such things. Just as I have contributed to groups who try to prevent some of the other disgusting Asian practices such as bear bile farming. I understand though that I can do little to prevent it. Regardless that is of no relevance to the issue of the WA shark cull.

    3. Luke’s questions.

    4. Tell that to the dead? You must have a degree in fatuousness. We have no problem with the dead on our roads, now do we? How many deaths can be attributed to shark attack per numbers of person hours in and on the water per annum? Insignificant.

    5. It is my view that humans do NOT have a right to do anything they damned well please all the time regardless of what that means for every other inhabitant of this planet. Just maybe, we should NOT go swimming or surfing where there are sharks. Or accept the consequences if we do. The real reason for shark culls? Money. To keep the tourist/leisure trade afloat. A higher purpose if ever there was one.

    Again, I accept the reality of the world. The WA shark cull will go ahead and in no time the public will forget and move on. Just like with whaling by the japanese. And live exports. And cruelty in the livestock trade. And animal experimentation for cosmetics. And the million other things that humans do because, well, we are worth it.

    Aren’t we?

  21. Johnathan Wilkes January 28, 2014 at 10:17 am #


    Wasn’t it you who dismissed those deaths as “insignificant”?

    Who or what are you?
    The self appointed conscience of the world?
    Jiminy Cricket himself maybe?

  22. Graeme M January 28, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    See, there you go again… Fatuous.

    Those deaths are significant to their families. The number of deaths in context is insigfificant.

    The rest of your comment – ignorant twaddle. Try again, but this time engage brain.

  23. Graeme M January 28, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Re the actual post about Queenslands shark baiting, I didn’t know that. I don’t think that the fact it is done there invalidates arguing against doing it in WA. But I’d agree that if one opposes it in WA then one should oppose it in Qld. Of course, I know there is Buckley’s of doing anything about either.

    And of course, the end result will be good. If you aren’t a shark.

  24. Johnathan Wilkes January 28, 2014 at 11:49 am #


    I leave this issue alone then.

    Any one who can dismiss even a single human death as “insignificant” in the grand scheme of things is not to be argued with.

    This sort of thinking (individual sacrifice for the greater good) lead to some nasty outcomes in the past.

    PS I fail to see the connection with the road toll?

  25. Graeme m January 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    I think you are deliberately misrepresenting my statements. I am not saying that a particular death is insignificant (although the significance or otherwise of a human life is certainly open to debate). I am observing that in this kind of risk assessment, the number of injuries/deaths is part of the equation. If a single human death is significant and not to be tolerated, we should not drive cars. Or play football.

    Every day we all make that sort of assessment – I could die driving my car, but I’ll take that risk because the number of deaths per road kilometers travelled is pretty low and I reckon I’ve a good chance of making the trip. But if I don’t, well… my family will be upset, but no-one else will be. We take steps to minimise the risk, but no-one is seriously arguing to get rid of cars. Yet the number of deaths on the road far exceeds that from shark attack.

    It’s a similar story for the question of risk concerning another animal’s impacts on our lives. At what point do we say that the other animal’s right to life exceeds my right to have a jolly good time? For me, I think it comes when the number of deaths from shark attack is vanishingly small when compared to the number of people using the sea for recreation. I am simply observing that it makes no useful sense to try to eradicate every risk from our environment when that eradication has a out of balance effect on the natural world.

    Yes, if sharks suddenly became so prevalent that you couldn’t go fishing for fear of being eaten, maybe we could take action. But maybe the action could be to ban fishing? Why is our first response not to limit our pleasures, but to limit other creatures freedoms and lives?

  26. kuhnkat January 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm #


    thanks for showing us leftard logic yet again.

    You claim in the grand scheme of things that the few deaths from sharks are inconsequential, YET, you seem to think that the small number of shark deaths that will happen on the coasts of Australia are an important issue when the real issue is the Shark Fin trade that kills magnitudes more sharks.

    Keep up the good work.

  27. jaycee January 29, 2014 at 8:58 am #

    Graeme M…….Have you tried “whistling into the wind” ?

  28. Luke January 29, 2014 at 9:18 am #

    KuknKat – fascinating but irrelevant to the post topic. Thanks for showing your rightard inability to focus.

  29. sp January 30, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    If Only Sharks Had A Taste For Greenies

  30. sp February 1, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Front page “The Weekend West” (

    “AT LAST – Drum lines installed to protect Perth beaches” reports P4-5

    Photo and cation: “A 2.6m tiger shark is pulled from one of the drum lines off Cottesloe yesterday. It was later released”

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