The Queensland government met with experts in the Whitsundays region today with the head of the state’s shark control program aiming to make people more “shark wise.”
The round table discussion at Airlie Beach today came after Daniel Christidis, 33, died on Monday after being bitten by a shark at Cid Harbour on the first day of a yachting holiday with friends and colleagues.
It was the third serious attack there in the past two months after Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick and Victorian 12-year-old Hannah Papps were bitten in separate incidents in September.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner met with local tourism operators and marine experts, as well as the Whitsundays council.
Despite scientists warning against drumlines and culling sharks, a north Queensland commercial fisherman warned the downturn in the area’s trawler industry had made sharks “bigger and fatter”.
“When you actually talk to any commercial fishermen, these animals are now getting larger and larger by the year and they’re educated to follow boats,” Bruce Batch told the ABC.
“They know if they follow a boat they’re going to get a feed.”
Mr. Batch, who has worked in the region for over four decades, said any fisherman in north Queensland would say there’s a “massive” shark problem in the area but he didn’t think there was an easy solution to the problem.
The commercial fisherman said Queensland used to fish 1200 tonnes of sharks a year — but that all changed under the former federal Labor environment minister Peter Garrett.
“Those sharks have had now 10 to 15 years to grow,” he said.
Mr. Krause is expected to propose an education program at the meeting, similar to the government’s “croc-wise” program which is used in crocodile habitat areas of the state.
The program will encourage people to avoid the water at dusk and dawn, warn against boaties throwing food scraps over the sides of their vessels and for swimmers to avoid murky water or anchorages such as Cid Harbour.
Queensland’s LNP opposition wants a parliamentary review in the wake of the incidents.
The government is installing signs warning people not to swim at Cid Harbour.
This story originally appeared in news.com.au.