The body of shark victim Matthew Tratt is airlifted from Indian Head on Fraser Island.
The body of shark victim Matthew Tratt is airlifted from Indian Head on Fraser Island.

Shark risks ‘so well known’ on Fraser Island: tourism boss

FRASER Island visitors know the risks when they visit, the region's tourism boss says.

Martin Simons, general manager of Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, told the Chronicle he did not believe the fatal shark attack off Indian Head would impact the island's tourism appeal.

"If you go to the island, you've got to get a permit. That process includes all the warnings about predators, including dingoes and sharks," Mr Simons said.

He said the death of Matthew Tratt, who was fatally mauled by a shark while spear fishing in notoriously shark infested waters on Saturday, was a tragedy.

He said, however, as an experienced diver, Mr Tratt likely knew the dangers beneath the water's surface.

His words were echoed by Mr Tratt's widow, Kayla Tratt, who told 7 News her husband "knew the risks of entering the water".

The body of shark victim Matthew Tratt is flown from Indian Head on Fraser Island.
The body of shark victim Matthew Tratt is flown from Indian Head on Fraser Island.

Mr Simons said the majority of island visitors did not enter the ocean and were attracted to the "wilderness experience".

"It's so well known. It's the open ocean," he said.

"This time of the year, the tailor is running, the whales are coming through, people know there are sharks."

Chronicle readers have taken to social media to call for increased shark warning signage on the island.

"Signs should have been there to prevent this even happening," Nell Lappin posted.

"A bit of signage indicating that sharks inhabit those waters could have helped, probably more so than all the talk about the water being their territory," Daryl Hemming added.

Martin Simons (g/mgr. Fraser Coast Tourism & Events) at the Tourist Information Centre.Photo: Alistair Brightman
Martin Simons (g/mgr. Fraser Coast Tourism & Events) at the Tourist Information Centre.Photo: Alistair Brightman

Mr Simons did not support these calls, saying island visitors had plenty of opportunities to learn about the potential risks.

"People that come in, in person to our centres, we talk about it with them," he said.

"We tell them it's a wilderness island."

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science referred the Chronicle to the department's website, which carries sharks warnings and urges visitors not to swim in the ocean.


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