Issued: 15 Jul 2022
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Fishers who don’t dispose of fish frames or bait properly and discard them around boat ramps are putting people at risk by leaving a free feed for crocodiles.
Manager Wildlife and Threatened Species Operations Frank Mills said wildlife officers and Livingstone Shire Council staff have seen plenty of fish frames and bait littering the region’s boat ramps.
“Crocodiles have an amazing sense of smell and they’re attracted to the scent of rotting flesh, and every fisher knows that fish frames and bait stink,” Mr Mills said.
“What we are finding is a lot of fishers clean their catch at or near boat ramps and throw the heads and frames into the water or on the ramp instead of discarding them properly.
“Unfortunately, this is the best way to attract crocodiles to boat ramps, which puts all fishers who use that boat ramp in danger.
“Crocodiles are no different to any animal that is being fed by people. It can change their natural behaviour and they begin to associate people with food.
“This can lead to crocodiles frequenting boat ramps for a free feed, and when people don’t give them food, they can act aggressively, which puts lives in danger.
“Fishers need to properly dispose of fish scraps and unwanted bait in bins at boat ramps or dispose of disused bait and fish carcasses at home.”
Mr Mills said the Livingstone Shire Council was in Croc Country, and people needed to be Crocwise in Croc Country.
“I encourage everyone in the region to download the QWildlife app and report all crocodile sightings to the department in a timely manner,” he said.
“I’m also asking all fishers in the region to do the right thing by themselves and everyone else who uses boat ramps and keep the areas clean.
“Wildlife officers investigate every crocodile sighting report, and crocodiles that hang around boat ramps can be removed from the wild if they are deemed a risk to human safety.
“Crocodiles have been feeding themselves for millions of years, and they 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.”
People in croc country are reminded to always be Crocwise. In particular:
- Expect crocodiles in ALL local 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 croc traps – that includes 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’s edge, 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
- Report all croc sightings to DES by using the QWildlife app or by calling 1300 130 372
View further information on being Crocwise.
Photos of fish frames and boat ramps are available in our media centre.