Tiger shark snared off beach
IT was a rare sight for those enjoying Australia Day at the Mackay Marina yesterday.
A 3.9-metre female tiger shark, weighing close to 500kilograms, was hauled from the water by a crane after being caught on a drumline off Mackay Harbour Beach around 7.30am.
The shark was landed after routine drumline inspections by Mackay shark contractor Geoff Bachmann.
Queensland Boating and Fisheries shark control program acting manager Jeff Krause said it was uncommon to find a shark of this size during the early months of the year.
“Tiger sharks are quite common off Mackay, however, this was a large female and it is a bit unseasonal to catch them this time of year,” Mr Krause said.
“Usually we get the larger females around August to November.”
A crowd gathered as the large shark was towed into the marina by boat and hooked to a crane.
Mr Krause said it wasn't routine to keep the sharks once they were caught, however, this particular one would be used for research.
“Most of the animals we catch we take back out to sea but we've got a university student doing their PhD on tiger sharks and this will assist the student with biological research.”
The shark was taken to the shark depot at the marina, where it will be kept in the freezer before being transported to Brisbane in the near future.
Mr Krause said there were nine drumlines and two shark nets off Mackay Harbour.
Almost 60 sharks were caught in nets or on drumlines in the Mackay area last year.
Mr Krause said the drumlines were surface floats with a chain attached to a baited hook. He said they served their purpose in deterring sharks from moving closer to the shoreline.
“Where the popular beaches are we have contractors who maintain and service the shark equipment,” he said.
“They drive up to the drumline in a boat, grab the hook or chain under the float and pull it up to check that the hook is still sharp.
“They file and rebait the hook and move on to the next one.”
There are currently 10 contractors at 85 beaches on the Queensland coast from the Gold Coast to Cairns.