Fishers are advised to know their zones before they get out on the water this winter, with those who are unfamiliar with the Reef reminded that fishing in Marine National Park no-take green zones is illegal.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Field Management Director Dr Mark Read said compliance officers had recently detected offenders from the Brisbane area illegally fishing in no-take zones at the Reef’s southern reaches.
“Normally, offenders are local to the area where they launch from; however, in the case of zones out from the Town of 1770, most offenders are from South East Queensland. For example, just last week, a 48-year-old man from Brisbane was fined for fishing in a no-take zone in the Capricorn Bunker group,”
“We’re finding that some fishers from South East Queensland are launching their boats at their nearest access point to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, without doing their homework on marine park zoning,” Dr Read said.
“Ignorance is no excuse. If you’re caught poaching in a no-take green zone you can expect a $2220 fine.”
Director of the Great Barrier Reef and Marine Parks Region, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Tina Alderson, said recreational fishers should plan their trip in advance using zoning maps that are available online, in paper form or via the Eye on the Reef zoning app.
“Once downloaded, the Eye on the Reef app contains a mapping feature that works outside of mobile range to pinpoint the user’s location and shows what zone they’re in and what activities, including fishing, are permitted there.
“If fishers are navigating with aid of a chart plotter it is their responsibility to understand how zoning is displayed on their plotter.”
The Reef Joint Field Management Program has made this easier for anglers by producing short YouTube videos to familarise fishers with popular units – such as Lowrance Elite, Garmin or Raymarine – and how they display Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning.
“While most fishers do the right thing, even a small amount of illegal fishing can have serious impacts on fish stocks and Reef health,” Ms Alderson said.
“The Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is committed to protecting the World Heritage Area from illegal activities and we have a zero-tolerance approach to poaching in marine national park zones.”
Zoning maps are available from bait and tackle shops, visitor information centres, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and by contacting the Authority on 1800 990 177. Report poaching and other suspected illegal activity anonymously via the Authority’s 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service are partners in the Reef Joint Field Management Program: a 40-year program dedicated to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.