BE CROCWISE AND STAY SAFE WHEN YOU ARE FISHING
Adventure is what the Northern Territory is about, and crocodiles are an integral part of this scene. In this raw environment, anyone straying close to or participating in water-related sports, including fishing, has meal potential. Are you thinking of heading out to hook a barra on the Vic River this weekend? Perhaps you’ve got a few crab pots to check in Darwin Harbour? Wherever you go, remember to Be Crocwise whenever you are operating on or near Top End waterways. Any body of water, no matter how big, small, clear, murky, salty or fresh, is potential habitat for a saltwater crocodile. Saltwater crocs were hunted almost to extinction, but since their protection in 1971, croc numbers have bounced back and are now at pre-hunting levels. This means that places you may have fished or swum in the past could now have salties living there permanently, or moving through regularly. Always remember "the smaller the boat, the bigger the risk" when it comes to fishing and boating in Top End waterways. Large adult saltwater crocs are regularly longer than 3.5m - larger than some roof-top dinghies! Crocodiles are able to leap two-thirds of their body length from the water to grab prey, so the low freeboard of a small boat is no protection against a hungry or territorial saltie. Crocs are attracted to the smell of your catch, and may be lurking nearby waiting to take advantage of all your hard work. Never dangle your arms or legs outside the boat while fishing, and always use a landing net. Crocs are attracted to the smell of your catch, and may be lurking nearby waiting to take advantage of all your hard work. Abandoned fishing lines and hooks pose a real hazard for many different animals; however, please remember that no lure, no matter how lucky, is worth your life. Don’t enter the water, or lean over the side of your boat, to retrieve snagged fishing gear. Salties are skilled ambush predators; extremely well camouflaged, and able to sneak up close to prey in shallow water. Always stay at least five metres away from the edge when fishing, and preferably keep an obstacle like a large rock or log in between you and the water. Never leave fishing rubbish or scraps close to the water’s edge. Salties have an excellent sense of smell and are well able to find any barra frame, or pile of fish guts, left behind by a lazy fisherman. Always dispose of your fishing rubbish a long way from water, and remember: the crocodile attracted to what you leave behind will be a danger to others, as well as yourself. If you are staying the night, choose a campsite at least 50 metres from the water’s edge, and avoid repetitive activities. Salties are intelligent animals and will be aware of what is going on in the world around them. You will never see all the salties around you. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially when you are fishing alone or at night. Be Crocwise and stay safe when you are fishing.