THE STENCH of rotting fish may turn the stomach of humans, but it leaves a crocodile's grumbling.
With the dumping of fish frames on Mackay region boat ramps and creeks an ongoing issue, local angler Wally Wilton has raised concerns about crocodiles being attracted to the area.
Mr Wilton has called for dedicated fish waste facilities to be implemented in an effort to encourage residents to dump frames safely.
"People just go and dump them down at the creek, on boat ramps, on the edge of the road or on cane farms," Mr Wilton said.
"No one wants to go and smell dumped fish frames at the creek or attract crocs onto boat ramps.
"I think for what it costs people, $9 or $14 to take an esky of fish frames to the dump, it's a bit of overkill for half a dozen fish frames.
"There needs to be a dedicated fish waste facility or a bin somewhere...maybe even on the tugs or the ships that come in and out can take it out and empty it so you are feeding the fish as well when you are getting rid of it and eliminating a lot of the smell."
With more than a dozen crocodile confirmed as potentially lurking in local waterways, the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) supported Mr Wilton's concerns about fish frame dumping.
A DEHP spokesperson said so far in 2017 there had been 15 reported crocodile sightings in the Mackay area.
"Mackay is well within croc country and careless disposal of fish frames could attract crocodiles. EHP strongly reminds members of the public to never clean fish or discard fish scraps near the water's edge, around camp sites or at boat ramps," the DEHP spokesperson said.
"No matter how many crocodiles are removed, no waterway in croc country can ever be considered to be free of crocodiles. That's why it's vital to be Crocwise in croc country.
"In particular: obey croc warning signs, don't swim or let domestic pets swim in waters where crocs may live, be aware that crocodiles also swim in the ocean, stand back from the water when fishing or cast netting, never provoke, harass or feed crocs, never leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, a camp site or boat ramp, never interfere with or fish or boat near crocodile traps, and always supervise children."
Mackay Regional Council's Infrastructure and Services Committee chair Cr Karen May said there was no excuse for dumping waste at the region's boat ramps.
"We provide bins at 13 boat ramps around the region," Cr May said.
"It is residents' responsibility to dispose their waste responsibly. They can either put the fish frames in the bins provided or take them home, freeze them and put them in their general waste bin on collection day.
"Dumping fish frames is illegal and those caught dumping illegal waste can face fines ranging from $252 to $1261 depending on the amount that is dumped."
One particular area of concern in regards to crocodiles is the Mackay Marina where DEHP say a sighting was recently reported.
"The most recent sighting report received related to multiple second-hand reports of a crocodile sighting in Mackay on 1 June 2017 when a crocodile, estimated to be between 3-4 metres in length, was seen between the marina and Lamberts Beach," a spokesperson said.
"The Mackay Marina is in Zone E (General Management Zone). This means that crocodiles displaying dangerous behaviour will be targeted for removal.
Crocodile sightings can be reported to EHP on 1300 130 372. All sighting reports are investigated.
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