Big fines for touch­ing croc traps

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS -

PEO­PLE who de­lib­er­ately in­ter­fere with the op­er­a­tion of croc­o­dile traps now face tough new penal­ties of up to more than $15,000.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Steven Miles said the crack­down was di­rected squarely at peo­ple climb­ing and jump­ing on traps or de­lib­er­ately trig­ger­ing them.

“Peo­ple shouldn’t need a tough fine to dis­cour­age them from frankly stupid and dan­ger­ous be­hav­iour but there has been at least one re­cent in­stance when re­moval ef­forts of a prob­lem croc­o­dile took longer than nec­es­sary be­cause a trap had been dam­aged,” Mr Miles said.

“These traps are specif­i­cally de­signed to at­tract croc­o­diles and they are de­ployed in places where a prob­lem croc­o­dile is known to be present. I want peo­ple to be very clear that if you in­ter­fere with one of these traps you are not only putting your­self in dan­ger, you are po­ten­tially in­creas­ing the length of time that a prob­lem croc­o­dile is present to pose a threat to other mem­bers of the pub­lic.”

Mr Miles said wildlife of­fi­cers were aware of a num­ber of oc­ca­sions re­cently where mem­bers of the pub­lic have been in­ter­fer­ing with croc­o­dile traps.

“The most se­ri­ous in­ci­dent was at the Ross and Locke Re­serve on the Mul­grave River south of Cairns in July this year,” Mr Miles said.

The new penal­ties, with a max­i­mum fine of $15,138, are be­ing in­tro­duced into the Na­ture Con­ser­va­tion (Es­tu­ar­ine Croc­o­dile) Plan 2007 and the State Penal­ties En­force­ment Reg­u­la­tion 2014. Un­less a per­son has a rea­son­able ex­cuse, it will be an of­fence to in­ter­fere with a croc­o­dile trap that is be­ing used.

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