Line snags 10 sharks off Leighton

All but one of the 11 were caught 1km off Leighton Beach between February 1 to 15, with Leighton Beach recording the highest number of sharks caught in the state. They were all tiger sharks.

The haul was part of 43 sharks caught by Department of Fisheries crews off five different metropolitan beach sites, with four tiger sharks over 3m disposed of.

Locally, two females less than 3m were found dead. Seven undersized sharks were released back into the ocean and two females at 3.73m and 3.5m disposed of.

Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said most of the released sharks had been tagged to allow for further research and tracking.

‘We have caught and destroyed a number of large sharks within one kilometre of selected beaches at a time of year when our beaches are crowded, so this catch data proves there are a large number of big sharks near these beaches,’ he said.

‘We believe the hook and bait systems we are using are successfully targeting larger sharks and not other fish species, and I commend the crews who have been diligent in releasing as many caught sharks as possible.

‘The crews try to support the shark while it’s being measured, tag it where possible and release it out at sea if time allows.’

Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner Tooni Mahto said the data showed the lines were not working as intended.

‘The drum line hooks were designed to only catch large sharks. This has proved ineffective with the vast majority of sharks caught being undersize,’ she said.

‘We welcome the release of the Government’s data, but it shows that large, reproductively important sharks are being killed.

‘With the drum lines not working as planned and many shark species already in decline, we call on the Environmental Protection Authority to stop the cull.’