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Drumlines Returning To Beaches In Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.  Image Credit: Department Of Fisheries

Shark control equipment will be returned to waters within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from today to boost swimmer safety.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said drumlines had been re-installed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park after negotiations with the Federal Government and workplace health and safety discussions with shark contractors.

“These are the exact same drumlines that were removed after an AAT and Federal Court decision imposed a permit that could not be complied with, forcing their removal,” Mr Furner said.

“Queenslanders and tourists who enjoy swimming in our coastal waters, our workers and contractors who we want to see come home safe every day and the tourism industry will benefit from this common-sense decision.

“A total of 120 drumlines will be returned to the marine park from today, from Cairns to the Capricorn Coast.

“This is in addition to drumlines that were reinstalled in state waters adjacent to the Marine Park last year, and restores the total number of drumlines to 203 across 27 beaches in Central and North Queensland, the same as what was originally in place before the Federal Court decision.”

Mr Furner said restoring the program was made possible after the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) issued an amended permit that took into account workplace health and safety issues.

“Our preference has always been to continue the proven Shark Control Program in the Reef, but this is a federal park with federal laws and Queensland must comply with the permit,” Mr Furner said.

“We wanted to put our drumlines back in and that is exactly what we are doing, with extra training and new procedures ensuring our contractors can safely comply with the new requirements.

“Contractors will check drumlines regularly and will tag, relocate and release tiger, bull and white sharks alive where possible and safe for them to do so.

“Other shark species will be released at the site of their capture.

“If it is unsafe for the contractor, or if there are any animal welfare concerns, sharks will be euthanized.”

Mr Furner said relocating and releasing sharks would reduce the immediate risk to swimmers at that location, but would not remove the risk entirely.

“That’s why we continue to encourage everyone to be SharkSmart and stay aware of what is happening around you every time you are in the water,” he said.

“Our approach will help ensure swimmer safety in the short term while moving in the longer term to non-lethal approaches, based on the best available science and trials.”

People are reminded to Be SharkSmart:

  • Don’t swim at dawn or dusk
  • Always swim in clear water (not in murky water, anchorages, estuary mouths or canals)
  • Don’t throw food scraps or fish waste overboard
  • Don’t swim where fish are being cleaned
  • Swim, surf, snorkel or dive with a buddy
  • Follow local signage and swim between the flags at patrolled beaches.

Locations where drumlines will be re-installed:

Region Beach Drumlines

Cairns (25)

Ellis Beach 7

Buchan Point 2

Palm Cove 9

Clifton 4

Trinity beach 3

Townsville (30)

Picnic Bay 4

Alma Bay 6

Nelly Bay 7

Florence Bay 5

Radical Bay 5

Mackay (18)

Blacks Beach 6

Eimeo Beach 6

Bucasia 6

Capricorn Coast (47)

Emu Park 7

Fisherman’s Beach 5

Tanby Point 5

Mullambin Beach 5

Kemp Beach 6

Lammermoor Beach 4

Cooee Bay 5

Yeppoon 5

Farnborough Beach 5

Locations of additional 120 drumlines returning to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

NOTE: Drumlines in Tannum Sands were returned to the water in September and October 2019 after their locations were identified as State waters.