2008-11-11

North Queensland beaches on alert for stinger season




STINGER season is upon North Queensland yet again _ and so far there haven't been any of the blighters.
Nets were rolled out across five beaches in the Townsville district yesterday _ two on The Strand, two on Magnetic Island, and one at Balgal Beach _ marking the first day of the high-risk stinger season.

With mass jellyfish problems in Japan and a stinger-related fatality in Thailand last month, experts have been predicting a `whopper' stinger season for North Queensland this year.
However, Surf Life Saving Queensland northern barrier services co-ordinator Matthew Bishop said so far there had been no jellyfish.

"We've had a few stinger drags, but so far there's been nothing," Mr Bishop said.
Last stinger season there were five recorded jellyfish stings in the Townsville district, two from box jellyfish and three from irukandji.

Most of these stings occurred at Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island.

In comparison, the North Barrier district, which encompasses Cairns, reported 236 stinger cases.

While last year's stinger season made lifesavers believe the Townsville public was finally listening to the message about stinger safety, Mr Bishop said people should not become complacent.

"Over the warmer periods, from November through to May, people just need to be aware of the higher risk of being stung by marine stingers," he said.

"People wanting to swim at the beach need to swim within a stinger net, wear lycra body suits and swim between the flags."

The lifesavers have also had problems with swimmers sitting on top of the plastic pontoons that line stinger nets.

"We're just asking people to stay off the pontoons," Mr Bishop said.
"We've got to keep the enclosure resistant to marine stingers."


No hay comentarios: