EXPERT OPINION: Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Authority Dr Lisa Gershwin and Jill Barclay from Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay with an irukandji jellyfish.
EXPERT OPINION: Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Authority Dr Lisa Gershwin and Jill Barclay from Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay with an irukandji jellyfish. Cody Fox

Meeting held to discuss Fraser Coast irukandji stings

A MEETING aimed at fighting back against irrational irukandji fears while also protecting people from the poisonous stingers has been held in Urangan.

Volunteer Marine Rescue organised the meeting after 12 people suffered stings on the Fraser Coast over the past year, which were believed to be caused by the jellyfish.

Eight of those stings happened in a two-week period over the summer months while people were swimming off the coast of Fraser Island.

Lisa Gershwin, director of the Australian Marine Stinger Authority, attended the meeting to share strategies that had helped other regions, such as the Whitsundays, combat the high number of stings caused by irukandji jellyfish.

She said about 30 people per year were being stung in the waters off the North Queensland tourist destination before an education policy was developed that provided information to everyone from tourists to schoolchildren.

Giving people knowledge of how to protect themselves had helped bring the number of stings each year back to single digits, Dr Gershwin said.

VMR vice-commodore Jill Barclay said the aim of the meeting was to discuss how to protect people from the deadly stinger without scaring them.

"It (the meeting) basically sprung out of the fact there is obviously an issue with irukandji being found along the coast here and getting more information out to the public and the commercial operators into how we want to move forward on the Fraser Coast with dealing with this situation," Ms Barclay said.

She said the aim was not to deter tourists from the region, but to reduce the incidents.

"VMR took an approach to bring a meeting together so that we could look at how we might be able to move forward in a positive fashion without affecting the number tourists we get here and not scaring the number of tourists either.

"It's the first meeting in how we might do that moving forward, whether it's putting together a committee or coming up with a number of suggestions working forward," she said.


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