Recreational fisher pays $4000 for fishing in a green zone

Published: 07/12/2016

A recreational fisher recently pleaded guilty and was fined $4000 after he was found fishing in a no-take green zone near Lady Musgrave Island.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Field Management acting director Chris Cochrane said the court conviction was an important reminder that penalties applied to recreational fishers if they did the wrong

“Welcoming people to the Marine Park is important, however there is no excuse for not knowing and following the Marine Park rules,” Mr Cochrane said.

“Our compliance patrols run during the day and at night. If you’re caught fishing in a green zone you can expect to be fined.”

The incident was detected during a vessel patrol by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS) officers who intercepted the occupants of the recreational fishing vessel spearfishing 400 metres inside a Marine National Park Zone (green zone) at Lady Musgrave Island.

The offender was an experienced seaman with a global positioning system (GPS) onboard the vessel.

The master of the vessel, a first-time offender, was issued with an infringement notice for $1800. After failing to pay the fine, the matter was referred to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions, where the Bundaberg Magistrates Court convicted and fined the master of the vessel $4000.

Green zones make up about a third of the Marine Park and are designed to help protect and conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystem. Research indicates that zoning arrangements — which came into effect in 2004 are making a positive difference to biodiversity with more and bigger fish being found in no-take marine national park zones, producing a spill-over effect of fish to areas of the Marine Park open to fishing.

Upholding compliance of the zoning plan is a high priority for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.The agency coordinates patrols with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, and the Queensland Water Police targeting suspected illegal commercial and recreational fishing. The Commonwealth's Maritime Border Command conducts aerial surveillance of the Marine Park.

Marine Park users can report suspected illegal fishing to 1800 380 048 (24 hours) or via an online incident report.

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

Name: GBRMPA Media
Contact: (07) 4750 0846