26 September 2023

Island visitors warned not to feed sharks

Start the conversation

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is urging Easter holiday visitors to North West Island to be SharkSmart in order to reduce the risk of shark bites.

Regional Director, Great Barrier Reef and Marine Parks Region for the QPWS, Anthony Contarino said activities that attracted sharks were declared illegal at North West Island Reef.

“The Special Area Declaration was made by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service for safety reasons in 2021 and applies to the island’s surrounding waters,” Mr Contarino said.

“From December 2019 to April 2020, emergency services responded to three shark bite incidents at North West Island, resulting in one death,” he said.

Mr Contarino said people attracting sharks with fish or scraps for a photo or video opportunity increased the risk of shark bites in waters around the island, as did people who dumped their fish scraps offshore.

“Sharks are unpredictable, wild animals and deliberately attracting them for selfies is dangerous and increases the potential for other people to be injured from shark encounters,” he said.

“In response to these incidents, the QPWS and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries have declared the new rules and developed an education campaign to encourage SharkSmart behaviour to reduce the risks.”

The Regional Director said North West Island was a beautiful place to visit and visitors should do their part and be SharkSmart to help keep everyone safe.

“Fines can be issued if people ignore the rules and put others at risk,” Mr Contarino said.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.