A saltwater croc has snatched a fisherman's dog from a beach in a twilight attack north of Cairns.

The border-collie cross was taken by the 3.5m reptile about 7pm (NZT) yesterday, as its owner fished with a friend at Deep Creek, near Kewarra Beach.

"It was just bang. It happened in an instant, as quick as you could take a photo,'' the dog owner's mate Benny Lawton told the Cairns Post.

The environment department said there were permanent crocodile warning signs in the area, and a recent sighting sign had been erected following yesterday's incident.


Rangers are carrying out surveys of the area on Friday to determine what further action should be taken.

The Queensland government is developing a new crocodile management plan for the state. It says community safety is the priority and there are plans for "zero-tolerance zones''.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell has invited councils to help draft the plan and says it won't be a one-size-fits-all approach.

"We will trap and remove any crocodiles which are found to be dangerous and we will work to set up a three-tiered system which includes exclusion and zero-tolerance zones,'' Mr Powell said earlier this month.