Commercial netting changes in Bowling Green Bay Species Conservation (Dugong Protection) Special Management Area

Amendments to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 were introduced in December 2011 to increase protection to dugong within the Bowling Green Bay Species Conservation (Dugong Protection) Special Management Area.

The amendments to netting rules were implemented to address concerns about the level of unsustainable dugong mortalities in the area.

The changes were largely developed through the initiative of local fishers as part of the Burdekin Regional Management Project, to reduce the risk of incidental catch of dugong in commercial mesh nets. There are no changes to other fishing activities in the area.

These changes have been developed in consultation with, and supported by, Queensland Seafood Industry Association, Fisheries Queensland, and the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

What are the new netting arrangements?

The map shows the two defined areas where the changes to rules apply. The information sheet explains the details of the new netting arrangements.

The new restrictions on net fishing are:

  • In the 'No Netting Area', no netting activities (other than bait netting) are allowed.
  • In the 'Restricted Netting Area', larger dimension nets are prohibited, but limited lower-risk netting activities are allowed.

The precise boundary descriptions and provisions for netting in the area are described in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983. Existing Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning and other fishing rules still apply.

Why the changes?

The changes have been initiated and developed in consultation with local fishers who recognised the need to increase protection to dugong following recent unsustainable levels of dugong mortalities in the area.

What does this mean for net fisherman?

Commercial net fisherman need to make sure they are familiar with the rules, and ensure they aren't illegally fishing within Bowling Green Bay.

The information sheet and map are designed to help commercial net fisherman get to know what the rules are and where they apply.