Alex O'Brien


Thu, 29 Jan, 2015

Monster shark caught off popular Gold Coast beach prompts warning

Monster shark caught off popular Gold Coast beach prompts warning

A monster bull shark – weighing 200kg and measuring three-metres – that was caught off popular Duranbah Beach on Australia Day has experts warning that the deadly species is more active following recent wet weather. 

Danielle Simpson and her boyfriend Joel Merchant, a professional fisherman, were on a fishing trip off the southern Gold Coast when the shark took a set line on January 26.

Ms Simpson said that it was the first shark catch she had been part of. “It was exciting for me,” she said.

“It was a pretty amazing thing to watch and be a part of. I have been out with him a couple of times but that was my first shark.

“I did have that moment where I was like, if this thing falls on me I am going to scream, but I knew I was safe.

“The surprising thing is actually how many are out there — people don’t realise.”

The adult bull shark was later cut up and processed.

Ms Simpson said she would be back on the water for more shark action soon.

“That’s what we enjoy,” she said.

The giant haul comes at the tail end of the pupping season when the sharks drop off their newborns and return offshore before the next mating season.

Bull sharks can reach three metres while juvenile and large juvenile animals are often spotted in canals. The species is thought to have been responsible for the city’s most recent fatal attacks in 2002 and 2003.

Ocean and Coast Research Shark Research Scientist Dr Jonathan Werry said that when murky water mixed with the salt water, particularly after rain periods, large sharks were more prevalent.

“We have tracked a number of these big animals and following where they have been going over the last couple of years,” he said.

“What’s been quite clear is that they do move right up and down the Coast.

“They have specific patterns they follow and the bull shark, part of that is seasonal but also driven by mating requirements and also feeding requirements.

“Basically what is very important for people in beach areas is when you get murky water coming out of the river systems and then entering our beach waters and mixing with salt water, that becomes a productive area for fish and, particularly during summer periods, that increases the likelihood of big sharks.”