Five-point plan to tackle shark threat

THE State Government has announced a five-point plan to address shark attacks in the Whitsundays.

The plan follows roundtable discussions at Airlie Beach involved tourism industry leaders, scientists, police and politicians.

It includes:

* $250,000 for research on shark movements and behaviour in Cid Harbour. Tourism Minister Kate Jones has called on the Federal Government to match the funding.

* A no-swim-zone declaration in Cid Harbour will be made permanent until the research is complete.

* A "sharkwise" program, similar to anti-crocodile-attack schemes, also will be rolled out.

Daniel Christidis was killed in a shark attack at Cid Harbour on Monday.
Daniel Christidis was killed in a shark attack at Cid Harbour on Monday.

* Maintaining an education program, which has seen 70 "no swimming" signs erected across the Whitsundays in the past few days.

* Reconvening later in the year to discuss the science around Cid Harbour shark attacks.

Several tour operators at today's meeting called for drumlines, but the Government is resisting the plea.

Ms Jones said marine authorities had told the Government drum lines and shark nets would not get approval for the Whitsundays.

"We understand this is a very tough time for operators," she said.

"This is a resilient industry that has bounced back from cyclones and other dramas."

Bond University scientist Daryl McPhee said deploying drum lines could take up to two years.

"Let's be clear, this is not an easy issue," he said.

"There is no easy quick fix to unprovoked shark attacks."

He said unprovoked shark bites were on the rise nationally.

The meeting opened with condolences to the loved ones of the three shark attack victims since September in Cid Harbour.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gshwind said it affected tourism operators "profoundly".

"We want to apply the best knowledge available, the best science available ... to any threat," he said.

"It is our foremost concern."

Ms Jones said she expected a robust discussion.

"This is the jewel in the crown of Queensland tourism and we need to work together," she said.



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