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Whitsundays plan

In late 2018, there was a cluster of shark bite incidents in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays.

Cid Harbour is primarily a site for boat mooring and sharks are active in this area. No one should swim in Cid Harbour under any circumstances.

Five-point response plan

After meeting with shark experts, tourism groups and other stakeholders in Airlie Beach on 9 November 2018, the government outlined a five-point plan to improve safety. The five points and update on progress are below.

Five-point response plan Progress update
1. Provide $250,000 towards scientific research into shark prevalence and behaviour in Cid Harbour.

Biopixel Oceans Foundation began a research project into shark prevalence and behaviour in Cid Harbour in late 2018. This research is ongoing.

James Cook University conducted research on the patterns of use, behaviour, perceptions, values and beliefs held by recreational users of the Whitsundays from 2018 to 2019.

Reef Ecologic delivered a behaviour change project to increase the knowledge and adoption of SharkSmart behaviours by bare boat renters (boats you can hire without a crew) in the Whitsundays during 2020.

2. Maintain Cid Harbour as a no-swim zone until scientific research is complete. Cid Harbour remains a no-swim zone and signs are in place around Cid Harbour and nearby marinas advising people not to swim.
3. Develop a high profile education campaign to immediately educate locals and visitors about shark safety. The Queensland Government has committed ongoing funding to the SharkSmart education program. We are calling on all Queenslanders to do their part and be SharkSmart every time they are on and in the water by following the SharkSmart tips.
4. Develop a broader SharkSmart education campaign, similar to the successful CrocWise campaign running in North Queensland.
5. Continue to meet with industry stakeholders and experts to develop and progress responses. The Scientific Working Group continues to meet regularly.

A Whitsundays working group was established in early 2020.

Last updated: Unpublished