Bundaberg Region residents and visitors to the area are being urged to be SharkSmart at the beach this summer.
Do your part. Be SharkSmart is a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries campaign calling on Queenslanders to take note of six key SharkSmart behaviours when out swimming, surfing, diving, snorkelling, fishing or boating.
Research has found that although 73 per cent of Queensland residents considered it their own responsibility to stay safe in the water, only 60 per cent knew how to behave in order to reduce the chances of interacting with sharks.
Julie Davis, Lifesaving Services Coordinator for Queensland Surf Life Saving Wide Bay Capricorn Branch, said most visitors to Bundaberg beaches do the right thing and swim between the flags.
“It comes back to people being responsible and swimming at patrolled beaches between the flags where we continually monitor the water,” Julie said.
“It’s important that people swim between the red and yellow flags where our beaches will be under guard for the next 6-7 weeks.
“We are spoilt for choice about which beach to go to.”
Julie said lifeguard and lifesaving services at patrolled beaches had been extended to 8am to 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of February.
The same hours will operate daily over the Christmas-New Year period at Kellys Beach and Nielson Park to cater for increased patronage over the festive season.
So far this year, 53 sharks have been caught on drumlines in Bundaberg waters, following 59 captured last year.
Drumlines are located at Oak, Nielson Park, Bargara and Kellys beaches.
Agriculture and Fisheries are using the acronym SHARKS to promote Do Your Part. Be SharkSmart and the measures residents can take to reduce the risk of negative encounters with sharks:
- Swim between the flags at patrolled beaches and check signage
- Have a buddy and look out for each other
- Avoid swimming at dawn or dusk
- Reduce risk, avoid schools of bait fish or diving birds
- Keep fish waste and food scraps out of the water where people swim
- Swim in clear water and away from fishers
For more information about Fisheries Queensland’s Do your part. Be SharkSmart campaign visit www.daf.qld.gov.au/sharksmart