They prefer areas close to the shoreline, often bringing them into contact with humans. Shark Species of the Whitsundays. When it comes to keeping guests safe, education is a more powerful tool, rather than the complacency which may come about from installing electronic shark deterrents. Sharks are a fact of life in Australia, there It is important to remember that when we enter the water, we do so at our own risk. A range of different shark species are present in and around Cid Harbour, including tiger sharks, bull sharks, blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, spot tail sharks and tawny nurse sharks. It’s highly likely that when you meet a shark while snorkelling or diving, they will swim away. A shark has bitten off a man’s foot in Queensland's Whitsunday Islands. We strongly recommend reading this fantastic article from Australian Geographic called The Truth behind the Whitsundays shark encounters. The ocean is vast and wild, and it is our responsibility as guests in their home to arm ourselves with knowledge in order to enjoy this environment safely. However, Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan last night called for drumlines to be permanently set in popular spots in the Whitsundays. Their vital role is overlooked when it comes to the importance of the health of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as fear and misunderstanding often take precedence over love and compassion for these extremely misunderstood creatures. A British backpacker had his foot bitten off after being attacked by a shark off Airlie Beach in Queensland’s Whitsundays, with another man also sustaining serious leg injuries. Phone: +61 (7) 4946 9232 A visit to the Whitsundays is a feast of the senses, surrounded by natural beauty, dotted with secluded beaches and friendly towns from which to explore. Also “many of the articles written about the event included images of popular tourist destinations of the Whitsundays where the attack did not take place”. Four tiger sharks were killed at the weekend by baited hooks dropped into Sawmill Bay by Fisheries Queensland following the attacks on Justine Barwick, 46, and Hannah Papps, … Remember, sharks are afraid of humans and avoid human interaction when they can. When visiting the Whitsunday Islands, you're visiting a world-class natural environment which is home to sharks, however, by being informed Whitsunday sharks are nothing to fear. Drumlines … These shark species are largely shy and non-aggressive, fleeing quickly at the sight of swimmers. A Victorian man was killed and several people injured in shark attacks in the Whitsundays last summer.  We suggest these safety guidelines for our guests. If shark populations decline, we can expect devastation worldwide as the ecosystem falls out of balance. All of the top snorkelling sites are considered low-risk shark areas. Generally they are a very docile species and swim away when they spot people, making them a rare sight and elusive animal. Sharks play an important part in this ecosystem and act as the largest apex predator in their environment. Research has included surveying guests after their charter and keeping track of the food waste coming off vessels to monitor whether scraps are being thrown overboard. “What we do have is a problem with sharks at the moment that has not been picked up. Police have confirmed a man, 33, died from “absolutely horrific” injuries in a shark attack at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays. In this post, we will outline what sharks you can expect in the Whitsundays, SharkSmart guidelines, what is being done and being aware of the sensationalised press around Whitsunday shark attacks. The hardest part is choosing how to fit it all in. MONDAY’S fatal Whitsundays shark attack has once again raised the issue of how to tackle the problem of attacks in Queensland waters. But there are many other recorded sightings from the bull nose to tiger and a number of reef sharks. While not a frequent flyer in the Whitsundays, whale sharks have been known to visit these famous 74 islands and outer reef on occasion, with the most recent sighting (and up-close interaction!) The sharks in the Whitsundays range significantly in size. They have now caught and killed 3 tiger sharks in the area of the attack, whether they are the once responsible they don’t know. You will see them from the beach at the northern end of Whitehaven. Swimming in other areas is fine as long as they observe the guidelines for their safety and the safety of other guests. There have been at least four shark attacks in the Whitsundays since September last year - including upon a 12-year-old girl, Hannah Papps, who later had her leg amputated. If you're planning a bareboat charter around the Whitsundays, the best way to avoid a negative shark encounter is to educate yourself so you can make safe decisions, giving sharks space and the respect they need. They balance ecosystems, keeping species below them in the food chain in check. "Hamilton Island is part of the Whitsundays marine ecology and sharks are known to be present in the waters in the region. It is rare to see sharks in the most popular snorkelling spots, but also important to note that these incredible creatures can be present at any time. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is a large circle of life where sharks play a vital role. New research, provided to News Queensland, has revealed it was a blackspot shark that may have been responsible for the three shark attacks in the Whitsundays last year. In their hunting, sharks take out larger species of fish, such as groupers, leaving more space for smaller species to flourish. Image Courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland. While there were Whitsunday shark incidents in 2018 & early 2019, they were extremely unusual occurrence. The Truth behind the Whitsundays shark encounters. We believe that technology needs more testing to be a safety device that would fit our standards. Perhaps the biggest drawcard of visiting Cid is the excellent hike options on offer, one of which includes hiking to the infamous Whitsunday Peak Track to the highest view in the islands. Most of all, their presence continues to ensure the health of the reef. Cid Harbour is primarily a site for boat mooring and sharks are active in this area. Five-point response plan Shark species vary in tropical waters compared to colder oceans. Whitsundays shark attack victim was cracking jokes as Swedish nurses saved his life. Negative Whitsunday shark incidents are likely a case of mistaken identity for a shark's usual prey and guests not being SharkSmart. However, the rise in shark incidents is due to the increase in population and people using the water. By giving smaller herbivores a chance to live, sharks are indirectly allowing the coral to grow and the reef to continue to expand and survive. Whale Sharks in the Whitsundays. When visiting Cid, it’s important to note that you cannot swim under any circumstances. Swedish nurses Emma Andersson and Billy Ludvigsson helped saved the life of a British tourist bitten by a shark in the Whitsundays. In short, this means that in hopes of not getting eaten, prey will swim away from sharks and graze for food elsewhere when they are around. The article highlights how reporting of the 2018 Cid Harbour shark attacks was misleading. You won’t find larger sharks like Great Whites here, but you can still see large Lemon, Hammerhead, and tiger sharks. Still, it wasn't." Whitsunday Rent a Yacht has decided against using the electronic shark deterrent devices on our boats. Everything that could go wrong in terms of media reporting happened in that situation. The most common sharks around the Whitsunday islands are harmless reef sharks such as Whitetips, Blacktips and Wobbegongs (an aboriginal name meaning shaggy beard). The team had a chat to Whitsundays MP Jason Costigan on the situation happening up north. Don’t let the presence of sharks deter you from visiting Cid Harbour; it's a fantastic overnight anchorage offering several protected coves and good fishing. “Bull sharks use the Whitsundays as nursery grounds so there are a lot of juvenile bull sharks around there,” Dr Williamson, who leads the university’s Marine Ecology Group, told The New Daily. In recent years there has been some bad press around sharks in the Whitsundays. Tourism Whitsundays CEO Natassia Wheeler said they supported all efforts to inform visitors about the dangers of sharks in the area. The men were on a tour with ZigZag Whitsundays, which runs snorkelling tours in … Be especially careful if you are chartering your own bareboat, and if you are unsure if the area is safe for swimming, it’s best to avoid entering the water. Most commonly spotted in the shallows of Hill Inlet, Lemon sharks can appear scary, but they are not considered dangerous to humans provided they are given respect. Larger sharks such as Hammerhead, Bull and Tiger sharks are found in deeper waters, in particular around Cid Harbour. They made it sound like where the person was snorkelling was perfect for that kind of water-based activities. Each year worldwide there are ~ 10 deaths attributable to shark attacks compared with ~ 150 deaths worldwide caused by falling coconuts. Be nice to them and they will be nice to you. Since these attacks, awareness campaigns and charterer education has been increased, to continually improve safety standards. While media outlets and Hollywood have portrayed these creatures as terrifying maneaters, any rare incidences have been a case of mistaken identity. This means resources also get spread out, as prey are unlikely to stick around eating from one source of food, which would deplete it. The Whitsundays tourism industry is bracing for impact following two serious shark attacks in the past week. Six tiger sharks were caught on the drumlines. The Whitsundays and the wider Great Barrier Reef features a glorious ecosystem of vivid marine life, including sharks. It’s unlikely you will encounter a more dangerous shark while snorkelling in the shallow fringing reefs around the Islands. The Australian Government have also provided information on how to be SharkSmart throughout Australia. 6 Bay Terrace, Shute Harbour Q 4802 The most common sharks around the Whitsunday islands are harmless reef sharks such as Whitetips, Blacktips and Wobbegongs (an aboriginal name meaning shaggy beard). OUR BOATING EXPERTS Reef sharks are common in the Whitsundays. The most often seen species is the blacktip reef shark, which is spotted in and around coral reefs. The priority at all times for Hamilton Island is the safety of our guests and closure and surveillance of Catseye Beach is ongoing." No swimming signs are seen around Cid Harbour to keep everyone safe. Data provided to Reef Ecologic helps understand boating activities in the Whitsundays and helps design and refine Shark Smart behaviours to continue to keep people safe. in Blue Pearl Bay.You can watch the viral video of a local Whitsunday resident actually swimming with the curious whale here. With three experts agreeing that it’s not uncommon to have negative media attention after a shark-human interaction, but the reportage surrounding the Cid Harbour attacks was “by far the worst”. Overall, a decline in shark populations will result in a loss of coral reefs and seagrass beds. If this population declines, we could see an increase in the number of algae on the reefs, which could, in turn, cause a mass decline in coral growth as they compete for space. Credit: Liam Kidston. and yep, it’s true - you are more likely to be struck by lightning than to have a negative encounter with a shark. The waters around Cid are deep and home to larger school fish which attract sharks. Part of what makes the Whitsundays so special is the balanced eco-systems & pristine environments they showcase. This is because when hunting, they shift their prey's spacial habitat, forcing them to alter their feeding strategies, and possibly moving further around the reef in search of food. By Tim Shepherd and staff. The most often seen species is the blacktip reef shark, which is spotted in and around coral reefs. The Whitsunday Islands support an array of plant and animal species, both in and out of the water. "No Swimming" signs have been posted at locations like Cid Harbour, similar to the crocodile warning signs in the Proserpine River, and hopefully, visitors to the region will heed these warnings. When left alone, these sharks are not a threat, however, they are considered the most dangerous sharks in the Whitsundays and swimming in their habitat should be avoided. Barbara says this is because the public outrage in response to news articles is so strong. Most commonly spotted are reef sharks, including Blacktips, Whitetips and Wobbegongs. Cid Harbour is the known spot for shark attacks in the Whitsundays with an unusual cluster occurring in 2018. It was a very rare occurrence, apparently the last shark attack in the whitsundays was 8 years ago. Shark attacks often receive negative press and stir public debate about drum lines, culling and environmental challenges. For more information on sharks in the Whitsundays click here. Here are some species of sharks found in the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays: Whitetip Reef Shark. Daryl McPhee, an expert in unprovoked shark bites from Bond University, shares the press was “a perfect example of what not to do. Reporting shark encounters is vital for awareness but not for miss-representing facts and creating fear where it’s not needed. Whitsunday Rent a Yacht informs our guests on being SharkSmart when they charter with us through emails, printed material on vessels and in-person during briefings. Take note of the no swim signs in areas where larger sharks inhabit. Just days after the bites happened, drum lines were erected and six tiger sharks were trapped and shot. The clamour for drumlines to be permanently deployed at Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays is growing louder following Monday's "absolutely horrific" fatal shark attack. More people each year are killed by elephants, crocodiles, bees, and wars and many other dangers that confront us, than by sharks. Use discretion and dig a little deeper to avoid sensationalist reporting around shark attacks. The Whitsundays, 74 Island Wonders located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, on the tropical coast of Queensland, Australia. There are definitely pros and cons to both sides of the argument, but everyone can agree that posting warning signs and tour operators educating their guests is an important strategy to keep both people and sharks safe in the Whitsundays. Baitfish are attractive to many sharks. Generally they are a very docile species and swim away when they spot people, making them a rare sight and elusive animal. Most commonly spotted are reef sharks, including Blacktips, Whitetips and Wobbegongs. For more information on how to be SharkSmart, click here. ARE READY TO HELP YOU, Shark Smart: Shark Safety in the Whitsundays. Reef sharks are common in the Whitsundays. Blacktip reef shark on the Great Barrier Reef. Never swim at dawn or dusk, and ask the locals about areas to avoid that have a muddy bottom, or are a well-known fishing area. Do not swim directly from the back of the boat, Do not dispose of food scraps or fish carcasses from fishing into the ocean. Join us in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore, Learn more and book or contact us today 1800 075 000 or [email protected], Skipper yourself bareboat charters In late 2018, there was an unprecedented cluster of shark bite incidents in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays. "98% of shark attacks involve a bump or a single bite, and then the shark swims away. Recently, a man off Lucinda (south of Hinchinbrook Island and two hours north of Townsville) was bitten on the leg by a shark while spearfishing. That figure jumped to 13 per year over the last decade. Stay away from swimming in deep waters and in particular never swim at Cid Harbour. Shark species vary in tropical waters compared to colder oceans. Three shark control drumlines were set up in Cid Harbour in the Whitsundays, this morning, a Department of Fisheries spokesman confirmed. THREE shark attacks in the same harbour — in one of Queensland’s most popular tourist destinations — has led to the Government holding crisis talks tomorrow to find a solution. You may also opt to only swim off the shorelines of Whitehaven Beach, or take advantage of other water-based activities available on many charters, such as stand up paddleboards, kayaks, and even glass-bottom boats and submarines! “You get a lot of young sharks that are maybe not as savvy in their choice of diet.” Even as Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands, welcomes tourists to accommodation almost booked out as the start of Queensland school holidays, local operators are nervous of the ongoing impact of the attacks. In fact, their role is vital to the health and well-being of this amazing part of the world. Within the park, you can find many species of sharks from smaller, non-threatening species such as the whitetip or blacktip reef shark to larger species such as lemon sharks. Recently, Whitsunday Rent a Yacht partnered with Reef Ecologic who are researching visitor behaviour and its influence on shark interactions. Globally more people died in 2018 taking selfies than those who've been killed by a shark (what!?) What are the biggest perceived threats to the reef? Politicians have called for the deployment of drum lines and shark nets, whereas environmentalist groups have counter-argued that the aimless killing of these necessary preditors does little to protect people and more to damage the ecosystem and food chain on the Great Barrier Reef. In the 1990s, the average number of unprovoked attacks in Australia was 6.5 per year. To learn more about how you can help the Great Barrier Reef and its inhabitants, click here. Several of those incidents occurred at Cid Harbour, about 10km from Hook Passage. No one should swim in Cid Harbour under any circumstances. One of the most important animals on the planet are sharks, a vital player in the delicate balance of the reef ecosystem. The responses to shark bites like those that occurred in the Whitsundays are swift. If there was no population control of larger species of fish we would see a decline in herbivores - the fish that control algae growth on coral reefs. They prefer areas close to the shoreline, often bringing them into contact with humans. In 2015 alone there were 22 unprovoked attacks, including one fatality and 13 injuries. Therefore, education and shark awareness are key to safely enjoying this spectacular Australian environment. A small but consequential detail: the Queensland lethal shark control program has never been run in the Whitsundays. "No Swimming" signs have been installed in locations where swimming, diving and snorkelling are dangerous. Amongst many of the different types of shark seen in the Great Barrier Reef and the waters of the Whitsundays is the shovel nose shark named for the obvious shovel shape of its upper body. Following several incidents in the Whitsunday waters in November 2018 and recently in October 2019, it is important if you are heading out on the water you listen to your highly trained crew about where and when to enter the water. There is still so much to learn about these incredible animals, and it is our responsibility to ensure their survival in order to protect the delicate balance their presence maintains in our oceans. Local tourism operators continue to work with the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and James Cook University (JCU) to investigate shark populations and behaviours in the Whitsundays. The Whitsunday Islands are part of the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, making them home to vast amounts of marine life including many species of shark.Â. Local reports became global, and that will undoubtedly be blamed for an impact on tourism, exacerbating the situation.”, Barbara Wueringer, a zoologist and founder of Sharks and Rays Australia, says. They help ensure species’ diversity by picking off weak and sick animals as well as keeping species numbers from getting too high. The nearest beach to ever have regular drum lines installed is … There are many variations of all species that add to the diverse and amazing ecosystem of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, all of which play an important part in its lifecycle and continued health. A shark has bitten off a man's foot in an attack on two English tourists near Airlie Beach. They are often an indicator of marine health, as their presence is normal and healthy to marine environments. The 100 Magic Miles guide found on your vessel also outlines no swim zones with maps. Following recent incidents in the Whitsundays in November 2018 and October 2019, it is important to educate ourselves about how to co-inhabit this beautiful aquatic playground safely. All guests are asked to watch this video from Reef Ecologic and take note of the specific guidelines outlined. Watch the full news bulletin on 9Now -With AAP If they didn't do this, the larger and more dominant species could become overpopulated and take over the reef. This is the most frequently sighted shark in the Whitsunday Islands and is non-aggressive towards humans. With an understanding of no swim zones and best practices, our priority is keeping visitors safe so they can enjoy an unforgettable holiday experience in the world-class Whitsundays. While several incidents in the Whitsunday region have stirred up debates about shark management, the community has been greatly divided on the subject. “I personally assumed based on the reportage that it was a great place for snorkelling, but it sounds like that’s not the case at all. Avoid swimming around large schools of fish. Shark attacks are extremely rare for those who are concerned, as they are only known to attack when deliberately provoked. PO Box 357 Airlie Beach Q 4802, Sharks  in  the  Whitsundays  and  being  SharkSmart, Copyright © 2021 Whitsunday Rent A Yacht. Following several incidents in the Whitsunday waters, balance the delicate ecosystem that makes up the Great Barrier Reef, water-based activities available on many charters, many ways you can see the Great Barrier Reef, View All Articles In Whitsunday Marine Life, We will build you exclusive packages to save you money. But despite there being an increase in shark attacks around Australia in recent years, facts and stats still illustrate that shark attacks are an infrequent occurrence. In doing this, they balance the delicate ecosystem that makes up the Great Barrier Reef. It’s highly likely that when you meet a shark while snorkelling or diving, they will swim away. “There are shark nets and drum lines that have been there for 50-60 years from Cairns to the Gold Coast and incredibly, in the Whitsundays, we don’t have any. (on a side note - one bite can still be a catastrophic event, so it isn't a reason to throw caution to the wind!). Cid Harbour is a popular anchorage location for charter boats that flock to the Whitsundays, despite the heavy shark population. As apex predators, they hunt other marine animals and indirectly control populations in seagrass beds and coral reefs, such as those found in the Whitsundays. Sharks in the Whitsundays The most common sharks you will spot in the Whitsundays are reef sharks, including Blacktips, Whitetips and Wobbegongs. Many inlets and estuaries provide safe nurseries for hatching sharks, and often you can see baby lemon sharks in Hill Inlet off of Whitsunday Island, which is an incredible experience! "Cases of sharks devouring humans are a very rare event," says Dr John West, curator of Australia's shark attack files at Taronga Zoo. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google. There are also wobbegongs, tiger sharks, hammerhead sharks, grey whaler reef sharks, leopard sharks, bronze whalers, bull sharks and even the occasional whale shark. You won’t find larger sharks like Great Whites here, but you can still see large Lemon, Hammerhead, and tiger sharks. And tiger sharks were trapped and shot Park is a large circle of life in Australia, there Whitsundays encounters. By picking off weak and sick animals as well as keeping species below them the. 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