QUEENSLAND, Australia -- A new shark research project that will track the movement of some of the State's most dangerous species has been announced by Premier Anna Bligh.
Premier Bligh said the program, which will start in early 2010, followed recent publicity about a great white shark caught on drum lines off Stradbroke Island.
"The truth is that these are magnificent creatures and it is sad to see that one was caught on the drum lines," said the Premier.
"But bather safety must be our number one priority in Queensland.
"For that reason our shark control program - which features nets and drum lines - will remain in place.
"The Government will invest $125,000 over five years in a new research project to track the movement of some of the State's most dangerous species.
"In conjunction with shark scientists, this project will focus on our three most dangerous species - bulls, tigers and whites - to monitor their activity in and around the coastal region."
Under the program live sharks will be caught and fitted with acoustic tags. The movement of these tagged sharks will then be tracked through acoustic listening stations along the Queensland Coast.
"Initially we will tag 60 sharks but expect to have tagged around 150 within three years," said the Premier.
"This information will give us a better understanding of the behaviour of dangerous shark species allowing us to further improve our shark control program to better protect our beaches.
"There has been tagging research undertaken in other parts of Australia - for example a CSIRO tagging project for white pointers is taking place now in the Great Australian Bight.
"We expect that in addition to our own tagging, we may be able to pick up additional data from migrating sharks that have been tagged elsewhere.
"In addition to this project, the Government is also investing in new acoustic alarms designed to alert whales and dolphins to the presence of nets and are already in use."
The Government has also worked with a specialist acoustic device manufacturer to develop an updated alarm which gives off a louder noise for a longer listening period.
"It is expected that these will be trialed in December," added the Premier who said that five whales have been entangled on the Gold Coast so far this year.
"That is a relatively small number considering there are up to 13,000 whales migrating back to southern waters, but still five too many.
"Technology such as this could mean that in the future both these tragedies in our nets and tragedies on our beaches are a thing of the past."
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