As per our October 2023 Noosa 360 update, the Noosa Shark Nets Working Group is now established and for anyone who would like to be involved/contribute, please email

Following further enquiries from our office to the Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, below has been provided in response:

Successive governments have recognised the vital role the Shark Control Program plays in protecting human life at popular beaches, which attract tourists from all over the world.

The Queensland Government is committed to the continual improvement of the Shark Control Program in line with emerging science, technology and community expectations. However, no major changes will be made to the Program, including the removal of nets, until the trials currently underway have been completed, analysed, and determined whether they are effective for Queensland conditions.

The Queensland Government will continue to do everything it can to ensure the safety of water users at beaches with the Program equipment, while minimising impacts on other marine life. For example, the Program implemented the latest technology in acoustic whale alarms to deter whales from approaching the Program apparatus. The aim is to reduce the risk of entanglements while continuing to ensure water users safety is not compromised. The whale alarms used in the Program are supplied by the local Sunshine Beach based business, ‘Future Oceans’. More information about these alarms, including evidence of the effectiveness of whale alarms, can be found on the Future Oceans website at or by contacting the company directly.

The Queensland Shark Management Plan 2021-2025 sets out how the Queensland Government will continue work to reduce the risk of shark bites through the traditional Program, while researching and trialling new shark mitigation technologies and boosting community education on SharkSmart behaviours. The Plan and other related reports are available on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ (DAF) website at An end of Plan review will commence in late 2024 and will provide advice to government on future options for the Program from July 2025 onwards.

DAF has partnered with Surf Life Saving Queensland to deliver a trial of shark-spotting drones. In early 2022, the trial was expanded and now operates at 10 beaches from the Gold Coast to Townsville, including at Noosa main beach, with drones flying every weekend and public holiday, and every day during Queensland school holidays, subject to weather conditions. A final evaluation of the SharkSmart drone trial will be completed by mid-2024 to inform the end of Plan review. The final evaluation of all trials will include an assessment of cost-effectiveness and suitability to local Queensland conditions.

As you are aware, up to 45 000 whales migrate along the east coast of Australia each year. The percentage of interactions is very low and releasing entangled whales continues to be a Program priority. Fully trained Marine Animal Release Teams (MART) located at Mackay, Sunshine Coast, and the Gold Coast use best-practice techniques to quickly and safely release marine animals from Program equipment.

When reports of whale entanglements are received, it is important the report is confirmed, as a large number of false alarms are received each year. DAF has access to a network of cameras at popular beaches which Program staff can control, focusing on Program equipment. Volunteer observers on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, along with assistance from Surf Life Saving Queensland and Sea World, also help identify and confirm whale entanglements so MART can respond and give animals the best chance of being successfully released. I am advised the response time for the incident at Noosa on 3 October 2023 was very quick and the whale was successfully released from the net in just under 1.5 hours from the first report.

In 2019, a 20 metre exclusion zone around Program equipment was introduced into the Fisheries Act 1994 as a public safety measure. It is an offence for a person to be in the exclusion zone unless authorised and penalties may apply. The offence does not apply to boats transiting directly through the exclusion zone without stopping. If a member of the public sees an entangled whale, it is important not to approach or try to release it. Whale entanglements with Program equipment should be reported via the Shark Control Program Hotline on 1800 806 891.

Furthermore, after Sandy’s advocacy on Noosa specific efforts, the Minister’s office provided the following in response:

The SharkSmart education campaign, launched in September 2020, encompasses a broad education program “Do your part. Be SharkSmart” and partnerships with organisations such as Sea World, Surf Life Saving Queensland and the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation, to provide tailored SharkSmart education programs.

The partnership with the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation looked at tailoring messaging for one of the high-risk water user groups, surfers. This project was funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and involved using community groups, such as the Noosa World Surfing Reserve and Surf Life Saving Queensland to adapt and communicate SharkSmart advice to the surfing community.

An evaluation of this project is currently underway, led by Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation, and will inform future projects.

The department is co-funding a bull shark tagging and tracking research project led by the University of the Sunshine Coast. The aim of this collaborative project is to understand bull shark movements across river systems on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, including the Noosa River.

Other alternatives such as physical barriers have been deemed unsuitable for Noosa due to moderate to high wave energy. Physical barriers are only suitable for calm water locations.

Trials are carefully planned based on the recommendations in the report Queensland Shark Control Program – review of alternative approaches and advice from the Shark Control Program Scientific Working Group, which is comprised of experts in the field.

Sandy will include the question around non-lethal shark control methods in our 2024 annual Noosa MP Community Survey which opens 24 November 2023, available at

In addition, as mentioned in our previous update, with previous survey results indicating only a 60% support for alternative shark control methods, a dedicated survey will be undertaken in March 2024 to establish whether there is a clear Noosa ‘position’ that would also require the support of key stakeholders including Noosa Council, Tourism Noosa and Noosa Biosphere Foundation.

Further information

To contact the QLD Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, email and copy our office in via and forward us any response you receive.

To contact the Noosa Council Mayor and Councilors, please find their information at

For our previous Noosa 360 updates on Shark Nets, please visit