Fish on the right side of the line these school holidays

Published: 24/09/2014

Anglers heading out to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park these school holidays are reminded to keep an eye on their GPS to ensure they follow the zoning rules.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) acting compliance planning manager Andrew Simpson said when the fish are biting it can be easy to lose track of your exact location.

“Fishers who know where they are will be less likely to accidentally wander into areas such as green zones where fishing isn’t allowed,” Mr Simpson said.

“A quick check of your GPS, and cross referencing with a zoning map, will help you avoid the risk of a fine by ensuring you don't stray into areas closed to fishing.

“Marine Park zone boundaries are marked with a coordinate-based system that uses points of latitude and longitude, and when you’re out on the water a GPS is an easy tool to help you know which zone you’re in.

“Fishers are advised to set their GPS/chart plotter to map datum GDA94 or WGS84, which is the Australian standard used for zoning in the Marine Park.”

Mr Simpson said without a GPS, fishers can still determine their position relative to most zone boundaries.

“Green zones close to the coast are mostly simple shapes, and boundaries can usually be lined up with recognisable features such as headlands,” he said.

“Zone boundaries are also oriented north, south, east and west as much as possible for ease of navigation.

“Nearly 70 per cent of the Marine Park is open to recreational fishing, so there’s plenty of fishing opportunities from inshore spots along the coastline to offshore outer reefs. Just plan ahead and be sure of where you can go and what you can do.”

All zone boundary coordinates can be downloaded from

Green zones are areas set aside to help protect the Reef’s natural values — this helps to keep fish stocks flourishing.

While green zones are off-limits to fishing in the Marine Park, they’re open to boating, swimming and snorkelling.

In a Conservation Park (Yellow) Zone, fishers are only permitted one rod or line with one hook (except when trolling).

Free zoning maps are widely available from bait and tackle shops, visitor information centres, ship chandlers and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices.

Alternatively, free maps can be obtained from GBRMPA by calling 1800 990 177.

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846