Five-point plan for safety, but no to drum­lines

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - PATRICK BILLINGS CRIME RE­PORTER

PER­MA­NENT drum lines would not be per­mit­ted in the Whit­sun­days to pre­vent shark at­tacks, the Gov­ern­ment says.

A cri­sis sum­mit held yes­ter­day in re­sponse to three at­tacks at Cid Har­bour since Septem­ber re­sulted in a five­point plan, but de­spite calls for drum­lines by char­ter boat com­pa­nies, State Tourism Min­is­ter Kate Jones said the mea­sures wouldn’t fly.

“They were told quite clearly from the Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity that it would not ap­prove the use of drum lines or shark nets in this re­gion,” she said yes­ter­day.

Mel­bourne doc­tor Daniel Chris­tidis died on Mon­day off Whit­sun­day Is­land, fol­low­ing two at­tacks in Septem­ber on Tas­ma­nian woman Jus­tine Bar­wick, who has had to learn to walk again, and 12-year-old Han­nah Papps, who lost a leg.

Shark nets or drum­lines are al­ready used in 86 lo­ca­tions along the Queens­land coast.

Fish­eries Min­is­ter Mark Furner said those were based closer to the shore at life saver-pa­trolled lo­ca­tions.

“Cid Har­bour is a fair dis­tance from the main­land and that’s one of the rea­sons why it wouldn’t work,” he said.

Drum­lines in Cid Har­bour af­ter the first two at­tacks were only ap­proved on a tem­po­rary ba­sis, he said. Those lines trapped six sharks in a week.

Bond Univer­sity head of grad­u­ate re­search Dr Daryl McPhee said there was no sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that drum­lines “un­equiv­o­cally work”.

The five-point plan re­leased af­ter yes­ter­day’s talks in­cludes a ban on swim­ming in Cid Har­bour, which will re­main in force un­til re­search is com­pleted into shark be­hav­iour in the area.

The State Gov­ern­ment has al­lo­cated $250,000 to the re­search and Ms Jones called on her fed­eral col­leagues to match it. Stake­hold­ers at yes­ter­day’s round­table will meet again later this year to ex­am­ine progress.

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