Queensland beaches shut down 50 times this year alone

LIFE savers have been forced to close Queensland beaches more than 50 times this year due to shark and crocodile presence with experts warning of a marked increase of predators in the water.

More than 420 sharks have been caught as part of the state's Shark Control Program since January including a 5.2m tiger shark, one of the largest ever hooked off Queensland's coast.

Surf champion Sarah Beardmore founded shark sighting app Dorsal Watch which alerts surfers and swimmers of predators in the water.

"I think we're seeing more sharks for sure," she said.

"I would definitely say over time we're getting more reports of sharks at the beaches and we've had a lot of reports of bull sharks in the rivers."

Ms Beardmore said her business was currently working on artificial intelligence software that could be used in conjunction with drones to help spot sharks in the water.

"We're hoping to launch it very soon," she said.

"It will start with the sharks and we have the capabilities to make a quick transition to identifying crocodiles too because we've had a lot of requests for that, especially in North Queensland."

Tiger sharks, considered as one of the most deadly shark species in the ocean, accounted for 42 per cent of the predators caught this year.

But Surf Life Saving Queensland chief operating officer George Hill said he was more concerned about crocodiles than sharks.

"In the last few years we've seen more beaches being closed and there's been more sightings of crocodiles on beaches and in coastal waters," Mr Hill said.

"A crocodile attack has more chance of being fatal than a shark attack."

Since January 1, Queensland beaches were closed 34 times due to shark sightings and 15 times due to crocodiles.

Mr Hill said since 2007, 40 per cent of the 15 crocodile attacks that occurred had been fatal while eight per cent of the 23 shark attacks were fatal.

"They (crocodiles) are a bit more of a concern to us than sharks at the moment because their numbers are growing," he said.

Mr Hill encouraged people to swim at patrolled beaches, the majority of which have shark nets and drumlines.

"Shark sightings are concerning but we'd be more concerned if we didn't sight those sharks and there was an attack," he said.

Fisheries Queensland Shark Control Program manager Jeff Krause said while the protection was not an impenetrable barrier, it did help reduce the overall shark numbers in that area.

"Shark control equipment, drumlines and nets, is in place off 85 beaches at 10 centres throughout Queensland," he said.

"Since the start of the program in 1962, there has been one shark fatality at a shark control beach in Queensland."



426 - sharks caught between January 1 and October 31

42 per cent - the percentage of sharks caught that were tiger sharks

5.25m - the length of the largest shark caught this year. A tiger shark caught on August 30 at Tannum Sands.

34 - beach closures due to sharks since January 1

15 - beach closures due to crocodiles since January 1

News Corp Australia

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