Bull shark plan? Bull****!

NO WAY: Mark Bowyer is the man who caught a bull shark in a Twin Waters canal about 12 months ago but says he is opposed to any council plan to relocate them.
NO WAY: Mark Bowyer is the man who caught a bull shark in a Twin Waters canal about 12 months ago but says he is opposed to any council plan to relocate them. John Mccutcheon

COUNCIL might be biting off more than it can chew with its plan to relocate bull sharks from the canals at Twin Waters.

Experts and locals believe the $60,000 project is doomed to failure while mayor Mark Jamieson - the sole dissenting voice in council's decision - fears it will set a dangerous precedent.

"Seven sharks! Try 37 and then add some more," was the reaction of Twin Waters resident Mark Bowyer to claims the canals were once home to seven sharks but three had been caught.

Mr Bowyer famously caught a 1.5m, 60kg bull shark near his home last year but said there were many more in the waters now.

"We see them from 18 inches up to three and four-footers and I'm sure there's larger ones in there," he said.

His headline-making capture of a shark in the canal last year was for food, he said, and he was not in favour of removing the current population for public safety.

"It would be like trying to hold back the tide. If you take 20 out, there's still going to be more in there.

"Would I swim in the canal? Absolutely not!

"But I would be disappointed to see them removed."

Sunshine Coast resident Tina shared this footage her husband Tyson took of a bull shark launching out of the water at Twin Waters Weir:

Queensland Museum ichthyologist (fish expert) Jeff Johnson also questioned whether any shark removal program would work as there were so many of them.

"People would be surprised how many there are in the canals," he said.

"You would have to imagine it would be difficult to get them all and fairly ineffective if the larger ones are capable of getting back in on a regular basis when the water overflows the protective grate."

Mayor Mark Jamieson's objection to the shark removal plan is more a financial one and he agrees the bull sharks will continue to find their way into the canals.

But he is also concerned at where council would draw the line in its responsibility to keep people safe.

"I think it's easy just to throw money at something, thinking it's a solution when the reality is that it may not be," he said.

"Do we then say 'lets spend money to protect people from venomous snakes'?

"I think we have to accept there is wildlife (that poses a danger) in their own domain and throwing money at it might make people feel good for a while but I worry it creates a dangerous precedent in terms of people's expectations of when and how council will protect them."

Cr Jamieson said his suggestion of a fishing tournament to catch the sharks for relocation was simply an attempt to find a "more sensible" approach.

"I thought it might be a more sensible way to manage the shark population, rather than spending $60,000 with possibly no result.

"It's a proposal I put forward but there is no plan to move ahead with it at this stage.

"I'm just trying to bring some common sense to the debate.

"We have lots of predators in our environment

"If we enter the realm of our native animals then we have to be prepared to accept it is their territory and we take a risk.

"There are ample signs up warning people not to swim in the Twin Waters canals.

"You can't legislate against stupidity, I'm afraid."

Topics:  bull shark mark jamieson queensland museum shark sharks twin waters

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