Croc in port spurs debate KAP hitching cull plan to sighting
A LARGE saltwater crocodile has been caught on camera at the Port of Townsville.
The sighting has reignited the political debate about the management of crocodiles, with Katter’s Australia Party using it to push its controversial culling policy.
The curious crocodile was spotted about 7am yesterday by the port operations team, who then alerted management and workers in a nearby boat.
The croc ( pictured), believed to be at least 4m long, floated on the surface of the water alongside berth four for about 20 minutes before disappearing.
Port spokeswoman Sharon Hoops said it was the largest crocodile seen in the facility’s waters in some time.
“We have a few crocodile sightings at the port every year because of the nice calm water,” she said.
“It’s not uncommon for us to see other wildlife like big fish and dolphins.”
KAP candidate for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto, director of Townsville WaterSports, which operates from the Breakwater Marina, said he cancelled tours due to safety concerns after the sighting.
“We had two people ring up to book tours but we decided not to send the jetskis out, so we have lost business,” he said.
Mr Dametto said waterways around Townsville and the Hinchinbrook region were overpopulated with crocodiles and damaging the region’s tourism potential. “Without proper control of crocodiles living in natural habitats we can’t provide a safe area come and swim,” he said.
Mr Dametto said he was pushing for a controlled cull of crocodiles in North Queensland rivers and creeks, as well as the establishment of an egg harvesting industry.
A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokesman said wildlife officers were working to relocate the crocodile. They conducted a land- based inspection yesterday and installed warning signs.
“Video footage of the animal provided by the Port of Townsville will be reviewed,” the spokesman said.
Wildlife officers last night planned shore- based spotlight surveillance of the area. to