Compliance management

Field management compliance activities play a significant role in managing the impacts of unsustainable recreational and commercial fishing, shipping, and the illegal take of vulnerable species, for example turtle and dugong, in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Aircraft and vessel surveillance patrols protect the World Heritage Area from illegal activities, reducing the threats to reefs, ecosystems and vulnerable species.

Our cooperative compliance management and surveillance program involves Australian and Queensland government agencies. Officers from seven Australian and Queensland government agencies are appointed as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park inspectors.

Compliance patrols are undertaken by:

  • Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing
  • Border Protection Command
  • Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol
  • Queensland Police Service
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority
  • Maritime Safety Queensland.
To encourage Reef-friendly behaviour, field staff provide tools to help Reef-users comply with the rules and protect the Reef’s ecosystems. Zoning maps and global positioning system (GPS) systems are important tools for navigating zones and to identify where your favourite fishing or boating spots fit in.

Free zoning maps are available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, tourism offices and bait and tackle shops along the Great Barrier Reef coast.

Zoning the Marine Parks to assist voluntary compliance

The boundaries of all individual Marine Park zones have been described using GPS coordinates. This allows users to determine their location relative to zone boundaries, and for enforcement staff to identify infringements.

To help Marine Park users, the GPS coordinates of boundaries of no-take Marine National Park Zones (green zones) are shown on free zoning maps, and the boundaries of coastal and island green zones have been aligned wherever possible with headlands and other landmarks. Detailed boundary descriptions with GPS coordinates for all zones can be found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.

Visit the zoning webpage for more information.

Community involvement in compliance management

All Reef-users play an important role in compliance management, as compliance officers cannot be in all places at all times. You are encouraged to report compliance incidents by calling our 24-hour phone line, submitting an incident report online or by emailing us. Reports can be made anonymously.

If you witness an incident, do not to approach or confront persons believed to be committing offences, or overtly take photographs, record vessel or offender details.

Aircraft, vessel and land-based surveillance patrols

The Australian and Queensland governments have a strong commitment to protecting the World Heritage Area from illegal activities. The Field Management Program has a comprehensive and coordinated aircraft, vessel and land-based surveillance program in place, which is essential to its successful management. This program includes dedicated resources of the Field Management Program and partner government agencies.

Powers of Great Barrier Reef Marine Park inspectors

Marine Park inspectors undertake compliance and enforcement activities in the Marine Park. They include officers from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and partner agencies. For example, all Australian Federal Police Officers are appointed as Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Inspectors.

Marine Park inspectors are trained through the Field Management Program and have powers under the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Officers from Queensland Government agencies involved in the Field Management Program also possess enforcement powers under the Queensland Marine Parks Act 2004, Nature Conservation Act 1992 and Fisheries Act 1994.



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