UPDATE at 3:10 PM | BAITED shark hooks have now been removed from the Whitsundays.
The controversial drum lines were placed in Cid Harbour last week following attacks on two tourists.
In a statement this afternoon, Fisheries Minister Mark Furner confirmed the shark control equipment was no longer in place after six potentially dangerous sharks” were removed from the area.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“The sharks removed measured 1.2 metres up to 3.7 metres, which is very large,” the Minister said.
“Most of these were Tiger sharks which have a history of causing serious injuries and death.
“By removing these large sharks we have made the area safer and the publicity around our actions has certainly made everyone more conscious of their own well-being in those waters.”
Mr Furner defended the State Government’s swift response to last week’s “unprecedented” shark attacks, saying the drum lines had proved”effective in raising public awareness”.
“Setting the drumlines immediately after last week’s events has highlighted the dangers posed by shark activity in the Cid Harbour area,” the Minister said.
“[Our response] had been reviewed regularly and an assessment had been made today that it had been effective in raising public awareness.
“The Cid Harbour area is not covered by the Queensland Government’s Shark Control Program, which operates at 85 of Queensland’s most popular beaches.
“It is not practical to permanently operate shark control equipment at this location as it is too far from the mainland to allow quick deployment, access, and servicing, or rapid removal in bad weather.
“However, in this situation, we believed that it was essential that we respond quickly and use the expertise and resources of the Program to protect the public.”
Mr Furner said Queensland Fishers would continue to patrol the area for the rest of the school holidays.
“While we are confident people now better understand the threat posed by these marine predators, there will be a continuing presence in the area over the school holiday period,” he said.
“The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol will remain onsite with support from other state government agencies to provide an ‘at sea’ advisory program to maintain the heightened level of awareness around the safety risk.”
Boaties and visitors are being urged to remain vigilant and avoid swimming in the area to reduce the risk of any further attacks.
FIRST at 10 AM (by Rachel Junge)| Controversial baited hooks, dropped in the Whitsundays in reaction to two separate shark attacks, will be removed before the weekend.
A woman and girl were bitten within 24-hours of each other last week, in unprecedented attacks at Cid Harbour within the popular tourist destination in north Queensland.
For the first time, the drum lines were lowered in the Whitsundays, leading to six sharks being hooked and killed by Fisheries Queensland officials.
There has been outrage from the public and conservationists, who have called for a more ‘humane’ way to deal with the issue.
The Queensland Government has confirmed, the temporary drum lines will now be pulled from the water, but the Premier says Cid Harbour will be off-limits to swimming over the coming weeks.
“During the school holidays there will definitely be no swimming in Cid Harbour,” Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
The two victims, 12-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl Hannah Papps, and Tasmanian woman Justine Barwick, 46, are both recovering in hospital.
A Qld Boating and Fisheries Patrol boat is at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays advising people to avoid swimming in the area following two recent shark attacks. Particularly as we go into school holidays, it is important for people to remind themselves of safe swimming practices. pic.twitter.com/jYjvmTjMSb
— Fisheries Queensland (@fisheriesQLD) September 20, 2018