Capricorn Bunker Group boaties are being reminded of the importance of zoning and no-entry areas after two recent incidents at One Tree Island, offshore from Gladstone.
Compliance officers detected two recreational vessels travelling through the Scientific Research (Orange) Zone, which is a Restricted Access Special Management Area, at One Tree Island Reef.
Entry to this area is prohibited without permission from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Marine Park Authority compliance surveillance acting assistant director Owen Witt warned boaties about the impacts of taking shortcuts through no-entry orange zones.
“It’s important to remember that the Marine Park is a multiple-use area and zoning helps to manage and protect the values of the Marine Park that users enjoy,” he said.
“No-entry orange zones allow for scientific research and monitoring to be undertaken, and enables research to be carried out without disturbance by other users.
“There are only two no-entry orange zones in the Marine Park, one at One Tree Island Research Station and the other adjacent to the Australian Institute of Marine Science near Townsville.
“When boaties enter these zones without permission, they put at risk important research and monitoring being undertaken in these areas.
“Most people out in the Marine Park do the right thing and follow the zoning rules, however some believe they can take shortcuts through no-entry orange zones and won’t get detected — this isn’t the case.
“There are a variety of zoning tools available to help people with the rules, including GPS, free maps and the free Eye on the Reef app that works outside of mobile range to pinpoint your on-water location.”
The recent detections are currently under investigation by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is a key aim of the compliance management undertaken by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services through the Reef Joint Field Management Program.
Suspected illegal activity can be reported to 24-hour free hotline 1800 380 048, or online at https://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident.