Fines slapped on illegal coral trout fishers

Published: 24/07/2015

Two commercial coral trout fishers from Mackay have been fined a combined total of $11,000 after aerial surveillance detected the men fishing illegally in a green zone.

The two men, who were fishing for live coral trout for the export market, pleaded guilty in the Mackay Magistrates Court to the fishing offences.

The dory operator was fined $7500 under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, after the Australian Border Force (ABF) Maritime Border Command detected the vessel fishing three kilometres inside a green zone near Hunt/Bax Reef, 120 kilometres north-east of Mackay.

The master of the vessel was fined $3500 for allowing the dory operator to be fishing in a green zone.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) acting general manager Richard Quincey said no-take areas are part of a network of zones in the Marine Park, designed to protect and conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystem, while providing opportunities for ecologically sustainable use.

“A study published earlier this year by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University show coral trout in green zones are bigger and more abundant than those in areas open to fishing,” Mr Quincey said.

“The researchers also found 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.”

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 fishing activities.

The ABF Maritime Border Command assists GBRMPA by conducting aerial surveillance across the Marine Park which spans 344,400 square kilometres.

Suspected incidences of illegal fishing can be made by via the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website at

Name: GBRMPA media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846