Steve Young posted these images on Facebook, after finding a crocodile egg among the cane paddocks at Bakers Creek.
Steve Young posted these images on Facebook, after finding a crocodile egg among the cane paddocks at Bakers Creek.

Croc code confusing: Concerns red tape will trap harvesters

CROCODILE nesting season has begun and for the first time in Queensland this could generate a profit for farmers.

The State Department of Environment and Science has introduced laws that will allow licensed crocodile harvesters to collect eggs from wild crocodile nests.

Koorana Crocodile Farm owner John Lever said licensed harvesters will be able to sell the eggs or raise the crocodiles and sell their skin to luxury goods makers. He estimates a nest of 50 eggs would be worth up to $1000.

Mirani MP Stephen Andrew believes the new laws will benefit crocodile conservation by providing a commercial incentive for farmers to protect the species. However he remains concerned that crocodile harvesters will become trapped in a net of red tape.

"Anything that can go forward and be able to collect eggs is a good thing. But at what costs?"

The laws require harvesters to report to the department in relation to crocodile sightings and the coordinates and condition of egg nests.

Mr Andrew is concerned that farmers are applying for licences without knowing what costs will be involved, what the application process will be or what the licences will permit.

"People are still trying to put applications in and they don't know what they're having to go through or do to satisfy what's going on."

He is particularly concerned about the requirement that harvesters coordinate with wildlife experts to minimise the damage to crocodile populations, saying "you have to hire a biologist to go everywhere with you - depending on how many layers of depth and information they want. What do you have to pay for it? We don't know."

He is calling for the new laws to be clarified.

"We're going in the right direction. At the same time we need to find out how it's going to affect the harvesters and all the people that are going to be involved in the process."

He is calling for the legislation to be closely based on the Northern Territory's model which has allowed crocodile egg harvesting since the 1980s.



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