Costly fine for green zone breach

Published: 02/04/2015

A commercial reef line fisherman from Gladstone has been fined $12,000 after being convicted for a second time of fishing in a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park green zone.

The matter was heard in the Gladstone Magistrates Court after aerial surveillance by Border Protection Command detected the coral trout dory operator fishing nearly two kilometres inside a no-take zone in the Swains Reef area.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) field management director Richard Quincey said the fisher, who did not appear in court, was convicted under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 in 2010 for the same offence and fined $5000.

“The higher fine given on this occasion reflects the fact that this dory operator has committed the same offence again,” Mr Quincey said.

The master of the primary commercial fishing vessel was also convicted and fined $1500 after pleading guilty to having a dory unattached in a green zone.

Mr Quincey said the importance of green zones was highlighted last week when the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University released research showing show coral trout in no-take zones are bigger and more abundant than those in areas open to fishing.

“The research unveiled positive results, showing coral trout biomass has more than doubled since the 1980s in green zones, with most of the growth occurring since 2004 when these zones were expanded to cover about one-third of the Marine Park,” he said.

“Figures like these emphasise that green zones are working and that those who are abiding by the rules are helping to achieve a tangible outcome for the Great Barrier Reef.

“Anytime someone fishes illegally, whether it be for commercial or recreational purposes, it undermines the benefits of these zoning arrangements.”

The network of zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is designed to protect and conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystem, while providing opportunities for ecologically sustainable use.

GBRMPA coordinates multi-agency patrols with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, Fisheries Queensland and the Queensland Police to target suspected illegal commercial fishing activities.

Border Protection Command also conducts aerial surveillance of the 344,400 square kilometre Marine Park.

Suspected incidences of illegal fishing can be made by via the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident.


Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846