A Dumb Attitude Costed These Fishermen $10,000!

Author: ABC Kimberley
Source: abc
Date: April 11, 2016

Fishermen seen in a social media video laughingly luring a crocodile to their boat could be fined for harassing specially-protected wildlife.

Department of Parks and Wildlife district wildlife officer Peter Carstairs is investigating the incident.

"We will be following up with the men to try and get further explanation of what they did and why they did it," Mr Carstairs said.

The video shows the men using a fishing rod and lure to entice the crocodile close to the stern of their motor boat.

"You can see in the footage that they cast the lure back out to the crocodile to deliberately lure it in to the boat," Mr Carstairs said.

"It's very stupid behaviour in my opinion."

Two local Broome fishermen, Mathew Bennett and Lee Carter, had a close encounter with another local resident yesterday whilst fishing near Crab Creek, south of Broome.

Posted by Broome Advertiser on Sunday, April 10, 2016

Risk of future attacks

The biggest risk is that the crocodile may now be more likely to attack a person, Mr Carstairs said.

"It encourages abnormal behaviour with the crocodile, so they lose their fear of humans and get used to coming up close to boats," he said.

"We really don't want crocodiles to lose their fear of humans and then lead to possible crocodile attacks in the future."

Mr Carstairs said the crocodile also was now at a greater risk of becoming a problem animal that wildlife officers would have to catch or kill.

"It can lead to crocodile attacks in the future or us having to euthanase the crocodile because of people's stupid behaviour," he said.

"If someone has their legs hanging out of the boat or trying to catch bait and then it comes up, it could lead to a crocodile attack."

Mr Carstairs is investigating whether the men may be fined for their actions.

"It is a offence under the Wildlife Conservation Act to take protected fauna, so that means to harass or disturb the wildlife," he said.

"In this case it could carry a penalty of $10,000 for taking specially-protected fauna."

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