Day and night, in the air and on the water — Great Barrier Reef Marine Park compliance patrols will be out in force during the September school holidays and the October long weekend, particularly at known illegal fishing hotspots.
Reef authorities continue to call on recreational fishers to follow the law when visiting the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, following an increase of 11 per cent in illegal fishing from the same period last year – the highest number of annual recreational fishing offences ever recorded.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Reef Joint Field Management Program director Chris Cochrane said good weather, cheaper fuel costs and restrictions on other recreational activity drove these increased infringements.
“We’ve seen unprecedented recreational fishing use in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area due to weather and other social changes and, unfortunately, also the highest number of illegal fishing offences,” he said.
“We know at least 704 people visited the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area either without adequate information on the rules or with an assumption they could avoid our patrols — when, in fact, there is more information and more patrols in place than ever.
“The message is simple — know the law and follow it. Marine Park rules are ultimately in place to aid the resilience of the Reef and ensure we can continue to enjoy the Reef into the future.