An animal welfare group has expressed outrage after a tiger shark caught on a Sunshine Coast drum line was not made a priority and left to die a "barbaric" death.

Sea Shepherd Australia have questioned why the State Government's Department of Fisheries did not respond immediately to the North Peregian drum line after first hearing of it being snared.

Organisation spokesman Jonathan Clark said that the catch was reported to him in the "early afternoon" on Friday, October 2.

However, he estimated by the time the department followed up to check on the catch, the morning after, it would have been far too late.

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"It's unquestionably barbaric and absolutely not good enough," Mr Clark said.

"It goes against animal ethics and cruelty laws.

"For it to be left just 50m from a surf break is unsafe too."

A department spokesman argued they were notified "late" that Friday afternoon and that it wasn't until "routine inspections" the next day until the catch was confirmed.

"The contractor checked the drum line early Saturday as part of routine inspections and confirmed a 2.9m tiger shark on the line," the spokesman said.

"The shark was humanely euthanised and disposed of offshore in accordance with standard operating procedures."

Mr Clark said he believed the shark would have drowned before the contractor arrived, sometime during the night or early Saturday morning.

"I know from personally witnessed it, a tiger shark can last 30 hours, but it can be horrific," Mr Clark said.

"This one would have drowned overnight."

The department spokesman said tiger sharks are classified as dangerous and included on the Shark Control Program's list of target species.

"They are not released alive outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park," he said.

He said the department responds immediately to reports of marine animals such as dolphins and whales entangled in Shark Control Program equipment.

Parrearra-based marine science teacher and shark advocate Tony Isaacson was the one tasked to confirm the shark's location that afternoon

Mr Isaacson said while there was no obligation for the department to check in on the drum line, there was an "expectation".

"What are they doing about non lethal, they could be doing much better," Mr Isaacson said.

Mr Isaacson said it would have been "incredibly traumatic" for the shark being left overnight.

"It's highly unlikely it would even consider a look or a nudge at someone," he said.

He said the shark would have posed "absolutely no threat" to swimmers or the surfers.

"Its primary target is green turtles, so it would have been going up and down distracted by the turtles, ignoring the surfers.

"Clearly it has made a mistake (to) take a baited drum line."