In late 2018, there was an unprecedented 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 is undertaking a research project into shark prevalence and behaviour in Cid Harbour. They delivered an interim report in January 2019 and a progress report in October 2019. The final report has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. |
Reef Ecologic has been appointed to boost SharkSmart behaviours in the Whitsundays by providing practical tools to help tourism, industry and the community. The project will continue into early 2021.
|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 first SharkSmart education campaign ran from April to June 2019. The Queensland Government has committed ongoing funding for an education program. Refreshed education materials will be released in late 2020.|
|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.