SLSQ warns of potential Irukandji threat off Fraser Island

Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) has issued a strict safety warning to beachgoers following the discovery of two potentially dangerous marine creatures during stinger drags off the western coast of Fraser Island.

The creatures were caught in stinger drags between Moon Point and Wathumba Creek within the last 36 hours.

SLSQ Lifesaving Services Coordinator Wide Bay Julie Davis said while testing was yet to confirm the species of the creatures, visitors to Fraser Island needed to be aware of the threat and potential dangers.

She said daily stinger drags were being conducted by lifeguards to identify potential Irukandji species in the ocean on the western side of Fraser.

“We’re asking beachgoers to exercise extreme caution and consider their safety when swimming on the western side of Fraser Island,” Ms Davis said.

“If you want to take a swim in the ocean, a stinger suit will offer the best protection. It’s also advised to have vinegar handy, because if you are stung, you should douse the area immediately.

“In the event that you, a family member or friend, do suffer a suspected Irukandji sting, you should dial 000 and get to a hospital as soon as possible.”

Ms Davis said it was possible that the creatures captured were from the Irukandji family, but SLSQ wouldn’t be able to identify the specific species until analysis of the specimen was completed.

“We’ll continue our stinger drags until January 19, weather permitting, as December and January are the prime times for Irukandji,” she said.

“There have been two suspected Irukandji stings along the western coast of Fraser Island since November, including a female in her 20’s on Sunday (December 29).”

Ms Davis said SLSQ staff were also conducting community awareness activities to educate visitors of the presence and potential threat of Irukandji.

“SLSQ is working with Volunteer Marine Rescue to transport lifeguards to Fraser Island to undertake this activity. Our team are chatting to campers, pulling up alongside charter boats, talking to those travelling to the island via barge and also handing out safety information on the mainland,” she said.

“In short, we are doing all we can to spread the word, and are encouraging the community to take every precaution possible.”

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