Fishermen's 'foolish' act at boat ramp in croc country

After a three-metre crocodile was spotted 'hanging around' the water's edge near people, authorities sprung into action.

Authorities are desperately warning against what they've described as "foolish behaviour" near the water's edge in croc country, with one repeat act carried out by fishermen blamed for attracting deadly predators to the area.

Fishers who discard fish frames and bait near boat ramps in Queensland's north, particularly around the Cassowary Coast, have been warned by environmental officials to dispose of such material away from the water after a number of recent close calls.

Officers with the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) say they've received three separate reports of a three-metre crocodile "hanging around" at the Maria Creek boat ramp at Kurrimine Beach, waiting to be fed.

An inset shows discarded fish frames at the Maria Creek boat ramp at Kurrimine Beach. The main pic shows a wildlife officer installing a crocodile warning sign at the site.
Fishers who discard fish frames and bait at boat ramps in croc country are attracting crocodiles and putting themselves and the lives of other people at risk, officials say. Source: DESI

'Foolish behaviour' slammed by wildlife officials

DESI director Lindsay Delzoppo urged fishers to stop. "One of those sighting reports contained information that a local fisher recently discarded large amounts of fish frames and at the boat ramp," he said. "Wildlife officers and officials from the Cassowary Coast Regional Council attended the boat ramp and saw the discarded fish frames.

"Many fishers across Queensland clean their catch at boat ramps and throw the heads and frames away at the water’s edge, thinking they are doing the right thing by ‘recycling’, but this should never be done in Croc Country.

"This foolish behaviour at the Maria Creek boat ramp needs to stop. People should dispose of fish frames and unwanted bait away from the water, because crocodiles have an amazing sense of smell and will be attracted to come along for a feed."

'Crocodiles don't need to be fed at boat ramps'

Delzoppo said that being continually fed by humans can change crocodiles' natural behaviour and puts everyone who uses the Maria Creek boat ramp in danger.

The Maria Creek boat ramp at Kurrimine Beach on the Cassowary Coast with crocodile warning signs at each side.
Wildlife officers have installed three recent crocodile sighting warning signs at the Maria Creek boat ramp at Kurrimine Beach on the Cassowary Coast. Source: DESI

"Crocodiles are an apex predator and have been feeding themselves for millions of years and don’t need to be inadvertently or deliberately fed at boat ramps," he said. "Discarding fish frames and bait at boat ramps is extremely unsafe."

Under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan, Maria Creek boat ramp is classed as Zone E, which is a General Management Zone. This means crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour are targeted for removal from the wild.

DESI encourages anyone who spots a crocodile to report the sighting as soon as possible.

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