Don’t risk a fine this holiday season

Published: 16/12/2015

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) compliance officers will be out in full force over the Christmas holidays as patrols in the Rockhampton and Yeppoon region are ramped up to tackle illegal fishing. 

GBRMPA acting field management director Mark Read said the holidays are a busy time of year out on the water. For this reason, combined with a serious non-compliance problem, GBRMPA and partner agencies would be boosting patrols for illegal recreational fishing. 

“We’re targeting illegal recreational fishing in no-take green zones, especially in high risk areas, including shoals and shipwrecks at night,” Dr Read said. 

“Green zones are critical for protecting and conserving the biodiversity of marine ecosystems.They help protect important fish breeding and nursery habitats such as seagrasses, mangroves, and shoals.  

“Our compliance patrols run day and night and if people are caught fishing in a green zone they can expect an $1800 fine. 

“We take any poaching in Marine Protected Areas as a serious offence — compounded across the whole Marine Park localised illegal fishing can have significant ecological impacts.” 

This year an increasing number of anglers and spearfishers have been caught and fined for illegal fishing in green zones across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. 

Dr Read said there is one fool-proof way to avoid getting fined. 

“You need to know where you are at all times — the best way to do this is to know how zones are displayed on your GPS unit, check the GPS coordinates of zones, and cross check your location with a zoning map.” 

Spearfishers are reminded that spearfishing is not allowed in Public Appreciation Special Management Areas — on zoning maps these areas are yellow zones surrounded by a pink dotted line. In the Rockhampton and Yeppoon region this includes North Keppel Island, Great Keppel Island, Wistari Reef and Heron Reef. 

Marine Park users can report illegal fishing to (07) 4726 0588 (24 hour) or via an incident report form at

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

Alternatively free zoning maps are available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by calling 1800 990 177 or downloaded from  

The Queensland Fisheries app provides information on regulations and can be used to keep an eye on your location within zones. When using the app it is important to cross-check your location with a zoning map. It can be downloaded on iTunes or GooglePlay.

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846