AN ENORMOUS saltwater crocodile seen at the Port of Townsville has been declared a "problem crocodile" by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Yesterday a saltwater crocodile was caught on camera at the Port of Townsville.

The sighting reignited the political debate about the management of crocodiles, with Katter's Australia Party using it to push its controversial culling policy.

The curious crocodile was spotted about 7am by the port operations team, who then alerted management and workers in a nearby boat.

The croc, believed to be at least 4m long, floated on the surface of the water alongside berth four for about 20 minutes before disappearing.


Port spokeswoman Sharon Hoops said it was the largest crocodile seen in the facility's waters in some time.

"We have a few crocodile sightings at the port every year because of the nice calm water," she said.

"It's not uncommon for us to see other wildlife like big fish and dolphins."

KAP candidate for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto - the director of Townsville WaterSports, which operates from the Breakwater Marina - said he cancelled tours due to safety concerns after the sighting.


"We had two people ring up to book tours but we decided not to send the jetskis out, so we have lost business," he said.

Mr Dametto said waterways around Townsville and the Hinchinbrook region were overpopulated with crocodiles and damaging the region's tourism potential.

"Without proper control of crocodiles living in natural habitats we can't provide a safe area to come and swim," he said.

Mr Dametto said he was pushing for a controlled cull of crocodiles in North Queensland rivers and creeks, as well as the establishment of an egg harvesting industry.

A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokesman said wildlife officers were working to relocate the crocodile.

They conducted a land-based inspection yesterday and installed warning signs.


"Video footage of the animal provided by the Port of Townsville will be reviewed," the spokesman said.

Wildlife officers last night planned shore-based spotlight surveillance of the area.

Members of the public are reminded to always be Crocwise in croc country. In particular:

- Expect crocodiles in all North Queensland waterways even if there is no warning sign

- Obey all warning signs - they are there to keep you safe

- Be aware crocs also swim in the ocean and be extra cautious around water at night

- Stay well away from croc traps - that includes fishing and boating

- The smaller the vessel the greater the risk, so avoid using canoes and kayaks

- Stand back from the water's edge when fishing and don't wade in to retrieve a lure

- Camp at least 50 metres from the edge of the water

- Never leave food, fish scraps or bait near water, camp site or boat ramp

- Never provoke, harass or feed crocs

- Always supervise children near the water and keep pets on a lead

- Remember, you are responsible for your own safety in croc country

- Report all croc sightings to EHP by calling 1300 130 372.

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