Bull shark program in closed lake system to be considered in 2016/17 budget
  • Thursday 25 February 2016

Sunshine Coast Council today endorsed that the 2016/17 budget determinations include consideration for a one year bull shark non-lethal relocation and survey program be undertaken at Twin Waters closed constructed lake system at a cost of $60,000.

A closed constructed lake system is one that is not permanently open, in other words infrastructure such as a weir or a lock prevents or restricts navigation to and from the lake system. It is not intended to undertake this trial in either canal systems or natural waterways.    

The actions and / or intended outcomes of the program, if funding is allocated in the 2016/17 budget, will include the engagement of a recognised shark researcher and expert who conducts similar programs for Gold Coast and Moreton Bay Council’s and the State Government to:

  •        survey the Twin Waters lake system to gain an understanding of the current bull shark populations;
  •        relocate high risk sharks from the system through an active netting program;
  •        identify preferred bull shark locations within the Twin Waters system
  •        through tagging, identify preferred bull shark use patterns and long-term movement trends within the Twin Waters closed lake system and the Maroochy River;
  •        identify and develop a risk based bull shark management response program; and
  •        undertake informed community participation/education (e.g. identification tagging studies, community engagement).

Infrastructure Services Director Andrew Ryan said council regularly received reports of bull shark sightings in council-managed closed constructed coastal lake systems including recent video footage of seven bull sharks in the Twin Waters Lake System.

“Today’s endorsement to undertake a targeted survey at Twin Waters Lake and, if required, non-lethal shark relocation program follows discussions with relevant experts and will enable council to gain a greater understanding of current bull shark population dynamics and behaviour in the region’s closed constructed coastal lake systems,” Mr Ryan said.

“Council has been advised the cost of a single year trial program in the Twin Waters closed constructed lake system would be around $60,000. Subject to budget deliberations, this will be included in the 2016/17 Financial Year operational works program.”

Mr Ryan said it was important to note that the State Government had primary responsibility for the management and regulation of Queensland’s wildlife and its habitat including bull sharks via an active Shark Safety Program.

“While bull shark management is not a council jurisdictional responsibility, council is mindful of the increase in sightings in closed constructed lake systems from concerned residents and has, along with strategically placed marine hazards signs, which are already in place, decided to trial the single year program at Twin Waters, subject to budget availability,” he said.

“Following completion of the trial program a report would be provided to council on the outcomes.”

Council will make a final decision as part of the council budget determinations in June 2016.