Fishing trip on your Christmas list? Check the zones first

Published: 12/12/2014

Cairns recreational fishers looking to reel in the big one over the Christmas holidays are urged to double-check the location of green zones before wetting a line.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority acting field management director Chris Cochrane said a growing number of anglers had been caught fishing in no-take green zones around Green Island, Michaelmas Reef and Kings Point.

“The increase in offences detected this year is partly due to a higher number of patrols targeting recreational fishing in high-risk areas for illegal fishing,” said Mr Cochrane.

“The December school holidays are a popular time of year to be heading out to the Marine Park, so I encourage fishers to do the responsible thing by knowing and following the zoning rules.

“Green zones are critical for protecting and conserving the biodiversity of the marine ecosystem, however their success depends on everyone doing the right thing.

“Illegal fishing can quickly undermine the benefits of these protected areas.”

Mr Cochrane said other green zones in the Cairns region are located around Low Isles, Skinny Reef, and north of Scott Reef and Hartley’s Creek.

“There’s some great local spots open to fishing along the coastline and in the offshore outer reefs, so I urge anglers to take advantage of those areas rather than fishing in a green zone,” he said.

“Nearly 70 per cent of the Marine Park is open to recreational fishing, so there’s no shortage of places to choose Research shows there are more and bigger reef fish such as coral trout in green zones than in areas open to fishing.

“When these fish breed, their offspring are carried by currents into areas open to fishing, helping to replenish stocks.”

Green zones also help protect important fish breeding and nursery habitats such as seagrasses, mangroves, and shoals.

It is recommended fishers cross-check their zoning maps with a GPS to ensure they fish in the right places.

Free zoning guides and 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 or by downloading them at

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846