Going fishing or camping in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park over the Easter holidays? Make sure you plan ahead by double checking where you can camp and fish.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority field management director Richard Quincey encouraged visitors to pick up a camping permit and a free zoning map before heading out to the Marine Park.
“Camping on national park islands in the Great Barrier Reef provides easy access to great fishing spots and we want to make sure everyone who heads out on the water enjoys the experience,” he said.
"Some national park islands become busy over school holiday periods so it is essential you secure your campsite by booking ahead and always purchasing the appropriate permits.
“Visitors should also make sure they check the zoning rules for their favourite fishing spots and know what they can and can't do out on the water.
“Sticking to the rules protects the Reef’s natural values and keeps fish stocks flourishing.”
Zoning is in place across the entire Marine Park, outlining what activities can occur in each location. Penalties apply for not following the rules.
While the most of the Reef is open to fishing, there’s no-take areas where fishing isn’t allowed. No-take zones are open for anchoring, swimming and snorkelling.
“By not fishing in green zones, you’re making sure fish have a chance to get bigger and to breed. This then produces more fish for the future in areas open to fishing,” Mr Quincey said.
“Nearly 70 per cent of the Marine Park is open to recreational fishing, so there’s plenty of fishing opportunities from inshore spots along the coastline to offshore outer reefs.
“If zoning rules are followed by the community, fish stocks will continue to benefit long into the future as a result.”
Tips for visitors to ensure they have an enjoyable Easter in the Great Barrier Reef:
- Grab a free zoning map from bait and tackle shops, visitor information centres, the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices — call GBRMPA on 1800 990 177 or visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au
- Buy a camping permit at Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service offices, by phoning 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or online at www.npsr.qld.gov.au
- Before leaving home, check what facilities are available at your campsite and what you are allowed to bring — on most national park islands generators and compressors are not allowed
- Keep pets at home — pets aren’t allowed on national park islands adjoining beaches and tidal lands.
- At campsites, don’t collect firewood or feed native animals
- Remove dirt, seeds, insects and vermin from camping gear before visiting the islands
- Take all rubbish (such as food scraps, cigarette butts, plastic and paper) back to the mainland and dispose of it properly
- Stay on marked trails, do not trample vegetation or break branches from trees and shrubs.