These black tip reef sharks were photogrphed off the beach at North Keppel Island.
These black tip reef sharks were photogrphed off the beach at North Keppel Island. Contributed

Shiver of sharks spotted close to North Keppel Island

CQ UNIVERSITY videographer Tom Sjulund was working on North Keppel Island on Wednesday when he spotted a shiver of blacktip reef sharks just offshore.

Mr Sjulund wasn't sure whether the sharks were feeding or mating, but said there were about 20 sharks in a shallow bay which he could almost touch from the beach.

Shark expert David Williamson, from James Cook University, said it would be difficult to tell without more information.

"My guess would be feeding on baitfish, but it is possible that it was several males attempting to mate with a female," Dr Williamson said.

"It's not unusual to see sharks herding baitfish into the shallows."

"Big schools of hardyheads are common in the Keppels and that may have been what they were after."

The blacktip reef shark is one of the three most common sharks inhabiting coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific, and is easily identified by a distinctive black tip on the dorsal fin.

They are naturally timid and easily frightened away by swimmers, although their tendency to inhabit sandy flats and shallow water does bring them into regular contact with humans.

Most attacks have involved sharks biting the legs or feet of waders, mistaking them for prey.

These attacks don't result in serious injury and there has never been a fatality from a blacktip reef shark.

In the 2011-12 financial year, 75 sharks were caught off the Capricorn Coast in the government's shark control program. Nineteen of them were more than two metres long.

The highest number caught last year was in Townsville with 149, with 58 over two metres long.

Despite the large numbers, shark attacks are rare in North Queensland and usually happen further south in colder waters.

Only six out of all shark species are dangerous to humans.



REVEALED: New red light speed camera for busy intersection

premium_icon REVEALED: New red light speed camera for busy intersection

The Gladstone spot has been identified as 'high risk'

Music legends to take stage at Agnes

Music legends to take stage at Agnes

The line up for next year's Agnes Blues, Roots and Rock Festival.

'Distraught': Mum's worry after $30k mistake

premium_icon 'Distraught': Mum's worry after $30k mistake

A Gladstone mum is urging others to be vigilant

Local Partners