Commercial fishers fined for fishing in no-take zone

Two commercial fishers were convicted and fined $9000 by the Mackay Magistrates Court for illegal fishing offences in a no-take green zone in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Aerial surveillance patrols detected the fishers illegally fishing from a commercial fishing dory anchored in a Marine National Park (no-take green) Zone in the Swain Reefs on 5 January 2018 — the commercial fishing dory operator didn’t have a GPS plotter on board.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s field management and compliance assistant director Ben Kettle said it was a timely reminder for all fishers to know the rules.

“It’s important all commercial or recreational fishers know where they are in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and what’s allowed there,” Mr Kettle said.

“Zoning information is readily available and having a GPS and knowing how to use it is important to ensure the rules are followed.”

The magistrate fined the dory operator $5000 for fishing in no-take areas around the Swain Reefs, plus the master of the primary commercial fishing vessel was fined $4000.

Mr Kettle said fishers who ignored Marine Park zoning rules could expect to get caught and face hefty fines.

“We have patrols day and night to detect illegal fishing,” he said.

“We also encourage the community to do their bit to protect their patch and report suspected illegal fishing to our 24-hour hotline 1800 380 048 or at www.gbrmpa.gov.au.”

Report suspected illegal fishing activity anonymously via the Authority’s 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident

Contact: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Media team | (07) 4750 0846 | media@gbrmpa.gov.au | Twitter:@gbrmarinepark