Rare cold water shark washes up dead on beach
UNUSUALLY cool offshore water temperatures may be responsible causing this out-of-town shark species to turn up on a Gold Coast beach.
Web developer and recreational fisherman Tim Scantlebury said he found what he thought was a juvenile thresher shark on Mermaid Beach on Sunday.
Mr Scantlebury said he was surprised to find what looked like a thresher - or 'whiptail' - shark on the sand because they are typically found in cooler southern waters.
"I didn't think thresher sharks come this far north - I don't know how it got there, maybe a sharknado happened?" the 26-year-old said.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists thresher sharks as a 'vulnerable' species. They are also caught regularly in waters off southern Australian states.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries did not record catching any thresher sharks last year as part of its Shark Control Program, which netted 531 sharks in total.
Mr Scantlebury said he moved the shark away from the shoreline on Sunday but when he returned a few hours later the shark was gone.
Gold Coast angling stalwart Doug Burt - who owns a tackle shop at Labrador in his name - said cool offshore water temperatures this year could be responsible for thresher sharks moving north up the coast.
He said prolonged northerly winds through summer which caused cooler water temperatures than usual to pool offshore.
"The offshore currents have been a cooler this year because of the northerly winds. Thresher sharks like cooler waters," Mr Burt said.
Mr Burt said the cool waters weren't much fun for sport fishermen have had a slow season catching species of mackerel, long tail tuna and kingfish.