’Shoot the bastards and turn them into handbags’
CRIKEY … a four metre croc has been spotted in Mackay and it looks well fed.
Recreational fisher Kyle Willetts posted a photo to Facebook on Monday of a monster crocodile.
Mr Willett spotted the reptile while fishing at McCreadys Creek, a popular spot for boaties.
He said the croc was lying in the mud towards the mouth of the creek, which neighbours Blacks Beach.
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said the sighting was reason enough for a croc cull.
"This is a matter of public safety, you can't have monsters like that coming out of McCreadys Creek, menacing my constituents and threatening visitors on our beaches," he said.
"I continue to cop criticism for my views, but my opinion is we need to shoot the bastards and turn them into handbags."
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Mr Costigan said it was time to confront the problem.
"We have an increasing number of crocs in the area and yes, education and being croc wise is important, but we need to take a hard line with this and introduce a policy to drop the numbers," he said.
"A cull of some description needs to happen."
Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance president John Bennett was concerned about Monday's croc sighting, but said he wasn't surprised.
The experienced fisherman said he had seen croc numbers increase significantly since protection laws were introduced in the 1970s.
"It has been nearly 50 years since the laws were brought in, so you've got to expect to see a lot more crocs now," he said.
"They are prehistoric animals so they are going to survive, adapt and increase."
Mr Bennett said it was "never a good thing" to have crocs so close to populated areas, but trapping and relocation programs were the best solution.
He warned residents to be vigilant when fishing in creeks and on the beach.
"Don't stand knee-deep or waist-deep in water while you are fishing," he said.
"Don't hang your hands or feet over the sides of a boat and if you are kayaking or paddle-boarding, avoid areas where there are known croc sightings."
In the past six months, the Department of Environment and Science has had 14 reported croc sightings in the Mackay region.
These include sightings at Carmila Creek, Shoal Point, Murray Creek, Alligator Creek, Seaforth Creek, Bloomsbury, Vines Creek, Tedlands Road, Bucasia, Mackay Harbour and Constant Creek.
A Department of Environment and Science spokesperson said McCreadys Creek was in Zone E, meaning any crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour would be targeted for removal.
"McCreadys Creek is known croc country and people in the area are reminded to always be crocwise," the spokesperson said.
"We have not yet received any reports of a crocodile seen recently in the creek, but we urge people to call 1300 130 372 to report any sightings."
DES safety tips include:
•Expect crocodiles in ALL northern Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign
•Obey all warning signs - they are there to keep you safe
•Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night
•Stay well away from croc traps - that includes fishing and boating
•The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks
•Stand back from the water's edge when fishing and don't wade in to retrieve a lure
•Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water
•Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp
•Never provoke, harass or feed crocs
•Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead
•Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in croc country