A commercial reef line fishing dory operator received a $10,000 fine after being caught in a no-take green zone in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for the third time.
The dory operator was convicted recently at Gladstone Magistrates Court after his dory was detected by a surveillance aircraft in a green zone at the Swain Reefs in February 2016.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority field management director Richard Quincey said the dory operator was prosecuted under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983, which prohibits dories from being in green zone (no-take) areas unless they remain tied to their primary vessel.
The court heard the dory operator had two prior convictions following aircraft detections of his dory in Marine Park green zones.
“This case shows people who choose to ignore the law and engage in illegal activity in the Marine Park run the risk of considerable fines,” Mr Quincey said. “We take these offences seriously.”
Mr Quincey added illegal fishing undermined the effectiveness of the network of green zones, which were carefully designed to conserve the Reef’s biodiversity.
“We’re doing all we can to reduce illegal fishing and other activity that harms the Reef, including taking increasingly serious action against offenders,” Mr Quincey said.
“This is particularly important now with the Reef’s health is under pressure from consecutive mass coral bleaching events, the impact of cyclones and an ongoing crown-of-thorns starfish outbreak.
“All Marine Park users can play their part by making sure they don’t fish in green zones, anchor on or otherwise damage coral, and can report any illegal activity they see.”
Aircraft and vessel patrols in the Marine Park are conducted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Maritime Border Command, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, and Queensland Police.
Reports of suspected illegal activity in the Marine Park can be made anonymously by calling the 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident.