Going fishing over the holidays? Know your zones first

Published: 18/12/2012

If fishing in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is high on your summer holiday agenda, then grabbing a zoning map is a must-do.

The free maps from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) outline the zoning rules for anyone out on the water in the marine park.

GBRMPA Field Management Director Richard Quincey said there’s mounting evidence to show no-take zones in the Great Barrier Reef are benefiting fish stocks.

“There’s considerable scientific research that confirms no-take zones are increasing the abundance and average size of many fish,” he said.

“And the larger those fish are the more of a baby boom there is.

“Recreational fishers then benefit from this as those baby fish disperse into other zones as they grow.

“Encouraging this type of growth and recovery in fish stocks is in everyone’s interest.”

According to a James Cook University study, coral trout numbers increase on reefs closed to fishing, providing a spillover effect into neighbouring fishing zones.

Australian Institute of Marine Science research also shows reefs in no-take zones are much less prone to outbreaks of the coral-devouring crown-of-thorns starfish.

While scientists have yet to fully establish the reasons behind the link, their study shows outbreaks of the starfish are almost four times higher on reefs open to fishing than in no-take areas.

Mr Quincey urged all fishers, including those who go out on the water regularly, to cross-check their locations against their zoning maps and to take note of the map’s activity guide.  

“In addition to benefiting fish stocks and the wider ecosystem, the marine national park (green) zones, or no-take zones, are open to anchoring, swimming and snorkelling so people can view and enjoy the Reef,” he said.

In a conservation park (yellow) zone, fishers are only permitted one rod or line with a single hook.

Fishers can pick up a map at bait and tackle shops, visitor information centres, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices. Copies can also be obtained by calling the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on 1800 990 177.

Zoning maps are also available on our website.

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846