BE CROCWISE, STAY SAFE
As another year wraps up and with the wet season well under way, it is more important than ever to remember that, if you are fishing in northern Australia, you are fishing in croc country. The wet season rain fills the creeks, road culverts and billabongs that were empty over the dry season, creating a water-highway for crocodiles to move around. That means you could now be unknowingly sharing your secret dry season spot with an apex predator. Just because you haven’t seen a crocodile does not mean there’s not one there. When you’re fishing from the land make sure you stand at least 5m from the water’s edge. Crocodiles are ambush predators and can remain hidden in very small waterways for some time. Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife rangers had a busy year in 2018, with crocodiles capture numbers looking like the 2017 numbers (371 crocs captured). It is a timely reminder that although once hunted to near-extinction, crocodiles are once again common throughout the waterways of northern Australia. The crocodile management program aims to reduce crocodile numbers in populated areas of the Northern Territory, but it doesn’t guarantee that anywhere is croc free. When you are out fishing you need to remember that staying safe from crocs is your responsibility. It’s important to think about how to Be Crocwise before you even launch your boat. When it comes to boats, just like your Barra, the size matters. Many crocodiles are well over 3.5m long which is the average size of a roof top tinny. Just like a boy scout, be prepared! Have everything ready before you back down the ramp to minimise the time you are in the water. Know the tidal conditions for the day as you don’t want to be stuck high and dry on a mud bank in croc country waiting for the tide to come back in. Make sure your landing net is ready to go and easy to reach when you need it. Not only could it help you successfully land one of the five Million-Dollar Fish, but it could save your life by keeping you out of reach of a croc drawn in by your catch. If you’re keeping your catch for dinner, please either take the whole fish home or dispose of your fish scraps in the bins provided. Throwing fish scraps back into the water may seem like a logical thing to do, but it can attract crocodiles. It is an offence to touch, stand on, enter, move or otherwise interfere with a crocodile trap. To report crocodile sightings, call 0419 822 859 in Darwin or 0407 958 405 in Katherine. Whether you are chasing a million-dollar Barra or a feed of reef fish, get out there, Be Crocwise and enjoy your fishing.