Stinger nets to stay at Four Mile Beach until June

Published Thursday 19 May 2016

THE stinger nets on Four Mile Beach will remain until at least the end of May.

Surf Life Saving North Queensland regional manager Col Sparkes said the deadly box jellyfish were still showing up along the Far North Queensland coast, and couldn’t rule out the nets remaining until well into June.

The Port Douglas nets are traditionally taken out to coincide with Carnivale weekend, but a later than usual stinger season and warmer water temperatures mean the animals remain a threat to swimmers.

Sparkes confirmed the SLSQ had caught a Chironox Box - commonly known as a ‘Quaddie’ - today near Clifton Beach, and that two weeks of clear waters was needed before the stinger nets can safely come out.

“Obviously we would rather have the nets out by now but the reality is the box jellyfish are still around,” Sparkes said.

“The stinger nets are there for a reason and it's to protect swimmers specifically from this animal. “We were hoping to have them out by May 16 but we need a clear run without catching any animals.”

The later than usual stinger season may have been caused by a dry summer and warmer water temperatures for this time of year. The box jellyfish will disappear once the water temperature drops and cooler weather approaches. 

“This isn’t that unusual as it happens every couple of years, it is just a late season,” Sparkes said.

“The south easterly winds usually knock the animals around a bit and they don’t like colder water, so once that starts to happen they’ll move out.”

He said SLSQ North Queensland would continue to monitor the Port Douglas conditions closely, and conduct regular stinger drags over the next fortnight before determining when the nets would be removed.

In the meantime, he urged swimmers to swim within the stinger nets, cover up by wearing protective clothing and swim between the red and yellow flags.