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Tiger Shark Killed While Being Tracked For An International Study

She was a young, three-metre shark.

30/05/2016 12:10 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:53 PM AEST
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R Snow / Ocearch
Maroochy the tiger shark is tagged by OCEARCH crew in 2015.

A tiger shark being tracked as part of a global scientific study was killed by a baited drum line in Queensland.

The three-metre shark, named Maroochy was tagged in February, 2015 by global scientific group OCEARCH.

Maroochy amassed a following of scientists, school children and everyday people watching her 'ping' between Bundaberg and Fraser Island.

OCEARCH / Google Maps
People watched Maroochy's pings in real time on the OCEARCH website.
Then, the satellite pings stopped off holiday hotspot Bundaberg and researchers confirmed she had been caught on a drum line.

The OCEARCH statement noted "she was in the area with the baited drum lines several times before she was caught and killed".

Followers of Maroochy expressed their sadness on Facebook, with Dagmar Hofferer saying "Maroochy's pings made us learn a lot about tiger sharks in the Australian reef zone" while Jodie Lynch said "We use to track Maroochy using the App and it was so educational for our children".

James Cook University professor Colin Simpfendorfer however, told The Huffington Post Australia it was not unusual for a large shark to be caught by a drum line.

"It's exactly what the program is designed to do -- catch large dangerous sharks near popular swimming areas," Simpfendorfer said.

"Whether it's right or wrong, and whether the program is effective or not, I think we shouldn't be surprised this would happen.

"It would be nice if it hadn't been caught and we could keep collecting data but we have collected a lot of good information since the shark was tagged."

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
A tiger shark with a satellite tag on its dorsal fin.

Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland Shark Control Program manager Jeff Krause told HuffPost Australia drumline use was driven by safety.

"The aim of the program is to reduce the possibility of shark attack for swimmers by removing resident, dangerous sharks from the area," Krause said.

"Human safety must come first and that is why the Queensland Government is committed to the program."

Krause said as of 30 May 2016, there had been 260 sharks captured this year.

In neighboring NSW, sharks are not caught on drumlines, opting instead for a system of shark nets, satellite tags and aerial surveillance. Krause said they were watching on.

"The Queensland Government is closely monitoring the NSW shark movement technology and will consider implementing new shark control technologies if proven to be effective in the marine environment and are practical use on a large scale they would be considered as part of the program," Krause said.

"On the evidence to date traditional capture methods remain the most effective measures to reduce the risk of shark attack."

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