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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    Solutions to Whitsundays shark attacks to be deliberated after Government ruled out drum lines

    The Whitsundays tourism industry, reeling from three shark attacks in as many months at a popular swimming spot in the region, has reached out to scientific experts to help keep visitors safe.

    A round table meeting will be held on Friday, involving representatives of the tourism industry, scientific community and government, to draft a preventative plan.

    A 33 year-old Victorian man couldn’t be saved, after being bitten on the thigh, calf and wrist while swimming at Cid Harbour earlier this week.

    It followed two other separate attacks at the same location in September, that left a girl and a woman seriously injured.

    Drum lines installed in the Harbour following the earlier attacks were removed from the water less than a week and six shark captures later.

    Queensland Fisheries Minister Mark Furner has ruled out re-instating them, citing scientific advice that such a move wouldn’t put a dent in the shark population.

    “We know now that there is a number of particular types of sharks and a large supply of bait fish in that area.”

    “All you’re going to be doing is killing sharks as a result of supplying drum lines on an on-going basis.”

    Tourism Whitsundays CEO Natassia Wheeler said she agreed setting drum lines would be a short-term solution.

    “It’s important that we don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy this week.”

    “We need to work with experts and all levels of government to find a longer-term solution,” she said.

    People are currently being told not to swim in the area.

    Signs will be erected this weekend and government agencies and other organisations are working with tourism operators to ensure the safety message gets out.

    “Local tourism operators continue with stringent warnings to visitors and advising visitors not to swim in Cid Harbour,” said Ms Wheeler.

    Friday’s discussion will also cover concerns that tourist vessels are attracting sharks.

    “We’re hearing consistently from experts and locals that one of the contributing factors could be that yachties are throwing scraps in the water which is providing feed for sharks in Cid Harbour," said Minister Furner. 

    “That only adds to the issues we have here at present.”

    Tourism Minister Kate Jones is adamant all ideas will be considered.

    “We’ll be looking at any suggestions that come out of that round table and taking that as a matter of urgency to our colleagues,” she said.

    “We want people to feel safe and welcome to come to the Whitsundays.”