At­tacks at Cid Har­bour prompt ma­jor round­table meet­ing

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Monique Pre­ston and Clau­dia Alp

A ROUND­TABLE dis­cus­sion about what to do about sharks in Cid Har­bour in the fu­ture will be held to­mor­row, fol­low­ing the death of a Vic­to­rian man on Mon­day. Mel­bourne doc­tor Dan Chris­tidis, 33, died af­ter be­ing bit­ten by a shark while swim­ming at Cid Har­bour shortly af­ter 5.30pm.

The round­table, called by Queens­land Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones and Fish­eries Min­is­ter Mark Furner, will see them sit down with com­mu­nity lead­ers, tourism op­er­a­tors and ex­perts to talk about the best way for­ward.

In the mean­time, Ms Jones said tem­po­rary shark warn­ing signs will be in­stalled at Cid Har­bour by the week­end, while per­ma­nent ones would be erected in the next few weeks.

This fa­tal at­tack on Dr Chris­tidis fol­lows on from an at­tack in the same area on Tas­ma­nian woman Jus­tine Bar­wick on Septem­ber 19 and one on Vic­to­rian Han­nah Papps, 12, less than 24 hours later.

So far there are no plans for drum lines to be de­ployed, some­thing Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan is not happy about.

Mr Costi­gan be­lieves the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment needs to put drum lines back into the wa­ter at Cid Har­bour.

He also be­lieves they should have been left in longer af­ter the last at­tacks on Tas­ma­nian Jus­tine Bar­wick and Vic­to­rian girl Han­nah Papps.

“Sharks are im­por­tant for the ecosys­tem... but hu­man life comes first ev­ery day of the week,” Mr Costi­gan said.

“Noth­ing can be done to bring back this man.

“They (the drum lines) were in for a mat­ter of days last time.

“I’m not say­ing that it would have saved this man’s life but we’ll never know.

“How many more peo­ple have to die be­fore we have some ac­tion?” he said.

Mean­while, Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones said ad­vice telling peo­ple not to swim in Cid Har­bour would be fast tracked fol­low­ing con­ver­sa­tions with Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor An­drew Will­cox and the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.

As well as the signs be­ing erected, Ms Jones said lo­cal char­ter op­er­a­tors had al­ready been ac­tive in telling any­one hir­ing a boat that no one should swim in Cid Har­bour.

PROB­LEM AREA: Three shark at­tacks have oc­curred in Cid Har­bour within seven weeks.

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