Illegal fishing is one of the Great Barrier Reef’s biggest threats, with a new compliance and education campaign calling on residents and visitors in the Gladstone region to protect their patch to help safeguard the World Heritage Area.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and key on-water and community partners formally launched the ‘Protect your patch’ compliance and education campaign in Gladstone today.
It targets poaching from no-take green zones in known hotspots like Curtis Island, Polmaise, Llewellyn, Hoskyn and Fairfax Reefs and no-take green zones near Lady Musgrave and Lady Elliot Island.
Water and air patrols — boosted by a new Gladstone-based compliance team — will occur around the clock and be supported by education activities about the importance of knowing and following zoning rules, which have been in place since 2004 to protect reefs, islands and species.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority field management assistant director Ben Kettle said it was everyone’s responsibility to protect their special patch of the Reef.
“Most recreational fishers do the right thing, but there’s a percentage who think occasionally fishing in a no-take green zone doesn’t do any harm — this is not the case, even low levels of poaching can have significant impacts,” Mr Kettle said.
“Not knowing the zoning rules is no excuse — our approach to protecting the Reef means people need to know what’s allowed on the water, as anyone caught fishing in a no-take green zone risks a $2100 fine.
“Everyone has a role to play in protecting the Reef and we encourage residents and visitors to the Gladstone region to report any suspected illegal activity they see.”
Reporting poaching is simple, it can be done anonymously by calling our free 24-hour hotline number on 1800 380 048 or by reporting online through the Marine Park Authority’s website.
“We just need a few details like vessel identity, what they were doing, when and where, even if it’s the nearest landmark,” Mr Kettle said.
“The more details you can provide the better, and if possible and practical, photos can be supplied. All reports are taken seriously and will be looked into.”
Offence data shows most fishers caught poaching in the region come from Gladstone, followed by south-east Queensland, then Bundaberg. Most other offenders are from Yeppoon and Rockhampton.
Whether you’re a visitor or a local, here are some things you can do to help to Protect Your Patch:
- Get a free zoning map from boating, bait and tackle stores and visitor information centres, or download a PDF: http://bit.ly/32ROU59
- Download the free Eye on the Reef app, which shows zoning and can be used outside of mobile range. It’s available in the App Store or Google Play.
- Report suspected illegal fishing activity anonymously via the Authority’s 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online at: http://bit.ly/32SEnGz
- Help spread the word — download material from our ‘Champions Pack’ and share with your networks: http://bit.ly/32O6Tcq. Use the hashtag #ZoningRules
- Don’t anchor on coral, and use the network of free public moorings in the Capricorn Bunker area. Find out more here: http://bit.ly/32OUvJe
Download photos here. Images are Copyright GBRMPA. Overlay vision also available upon request.