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Bargara great white shark a museum feature

White shark, Queensland Museum
The white shark exhibit at the Queensland Museum. Photo: Queensland Museum

A great white shark caught at Bargara in 1993 has been the subject of scientific research for more than 20 years and a feature at the Queensland Museum.

According to Ichthyology Manager of the museum's Biodiversity and Geosciences Program, Jeff Johnson, the female shark was caught on 5 August 1993 on a baited drum line off Nielson Park, Bargara.

“We estimate it was 2-3 years old at the time,” he said.

“It was caught by the shark control contractor as part of the Queensland Government Shark Safety Program.

“It was 2.2 metres in total length; white sharks are born at 1.2 to 1.5 metres and can reach a maximum of about 7 metres in length.”

Jeff said after it was caught, the juvenile shark was offered to the Queensland Museum by Queensland Fisheries Service officers for research and display purposes.

White Shark, Queensland Museum
The white shark exhibit at the Queensland Museum. Photo: Queensland Museum

“The specimen was stored in ethanol as part of the Queensland Museum research collection for 20 years,” he said.

“During this time it was available for examination by visiting national and international scientists.

“In 2013 we decided to make the shark, its story and other related information more widely available by putting it on public display.”

The shark has since been available for viewing at the Queensland Museum and sits in a large glass case in the marine area of the building in South Bank.

Jeff said the process of getting the shark ready for display was a challenge and required a number of months of detailed work.

“In order to safely display the shark, it was removed from ethanol and gradually stepped through a series of glycerol solutions over a six-month period,” he said.

“Glycerol is a clear, non-toxic, non-flammable fluid that can be used to house specimens that have already been preserved in other more dangerous chemicals.”

To find out more about the Queensland Museum click here.

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