Mayor says 'it's time to act now' on Four Mile Beach crocodile threat

CROC PLAN

Mark Murray

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A warning sign is erected on Four Mile Beach after a crocodile closed it down last year. IMAGE: Newsport.
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DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu is determined to act on the crocodile threat on Four Mile Beach following yesterday’s modest rezoning announcement by the Queensland Government.

Despite growing concerns on the number of crocodile sightings along the famous tourist strip, the area was named in Zone E of a new statewide crocodile management plan which allows crocodiles to be removed only if they display dangerous behaviour.

Leu said after extensive discussions with local tourism operators, residents and visitors she believed more needed to be done to safeguard Four Mile Beach.

“I’m now of the viewpoint that Four Mile Beach and possibly some boat ramps and freshwater creeks and rivers should be reclassified, and that is what Council will be discussing at our next meeting,” Leu said.

“I believe it’s time to act now on Four Mile Beach to protect our local tourism industry which we all depend on in some way and could be severely impacted if visitors felt they were no longer able to swim there because of the threat of crocodiles.”

Under the new management plan, Four Mile Beach is in the same zoning as the densely-populated crocodile habitats of the Daintree and Mowbray Rivers despite its urban position.

See the new statewide crocodile management zoning here

Leu says she will bring up the issue when the specifics of the strategy are thrashed out at a CrocWise roundtable in Cairns on March 30.

“Crocodile management is an extremely complex matter, particularly in the Douglas Shire where we have different areas such as the Daintree and Mowbray Rivers that attract people who want to see crocodiles in the wild, and Four Mile Beach which is an urban area where people expect to be able to swim without the threat of crocodiles,” Leu said.

“Council understands that crocodile management is a highly emotive issue and whatever the outcome, community opinion will be divided.”

Leu said they will consider requesting the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection reclassify Four Mile Beach and ‘some other parts of Douglas Shire’ as Zone B, C or D.

These zones allow:

Zone B: an Active Removal Zone, where all crocodiles in the designated area are targeted for removal, particularly larger ones

Zone C: a Targeted Management Zone where all large crocodiles and any crocodile displaying dangerous behaviour are targeted for removal.

Zone D: a Transitory Zone, where all large crocodiles are encouraged to move away from the beach and, where practical, crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour are targeted for removal.

See the new statewide crocodile management zoning here


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