Fish frames a dangerous boat ramp feed


Media release from the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation

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.

Wildlife officers from the Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (DESI) have installed three recent crocodile sighting warning signs at the Maria Creek boat ramp at Kurrimine Beach on the Cassowary Coast.

Director Northern Wildlife Operations Lindsay Delzoppo said DESI had received three sighting reports in recent weeks of a three-metre crocodile hanging around the boat ramp and eating discarded fish frames.

“One of those sighting reports contained information that a local fisher recently discarded large amounts of fish frames and at the boat ramp,” Mr Delzoppo 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.

“We’re not sure if the fisher or fishers are leaving the fish frames behind deliberately, but 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.

This can change their natural behaviour and they may start to hang around waiting for another meal.

“This puts everyone who uses the Maria Creek boat ramp in danger, because a fed crocodile learns to associate people with food.”

Mr Delzoppo said the Cassowary Coast was in Croc Country, and people needed to be Crocwise in Croc Country.

“All fishers in the region need to be Crocwise, and that means never leaving fish frames or bait at boat ramps,” he said.

“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.

“Remember, everyone is responsible for their own safety in Croc Country, and 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 that 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. This can be done by using the QWildlife app, completing a crocodile sighting report on the DESI website, or by calling 1300 130 372. The department investigates every crocodile sighting report received.

People on the Cassowary Coast area are urged to be CrocWise, which includes:

•             Expect crocodiles in all waterways even if there is no warning sign    

•             Obey all warning signs – they are there to keep you safe

•             Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night

•             Stay well away from crocodile traps – that includes when fishing and boating

•             The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks

•             Stand back from the water’s edge when fishing and don’t wade in to retrieve a lure

•             Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water 

•             Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, at camp sites or at boat ramps

•             Never provoke, harass, or feed crocs

•             Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead.