Residents and visitors in the Capricorn Coast region are being encouraged to ‘Protect Your Patch’ to help protect the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and key on-water and community partners launched the Protect Your Patch Capricorn Coast campaign at Rosslyn Bay today to target poaching from no-take green zones, which threatens the health of the Reef at a time when it needs support.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority field management assistant director Andrew Simpson is calling on the community to do its part to help protect its patch.
“Most recreational fishers do the right thing, but there’s a percentage who think occasionally fishing in a green zone doesn’t do any harm — this is not the case, even low levels of poaching can have significant impacts,” Mr Simpson said.
“You may be surprised to hear that more than half of the recreational fishers caught illegal fishing in green zones in the Capricorn Coast area are locals.
“There 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 Cap Coast 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 Simpson 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.”
With the tourist season ramping up, Mr Simpson also reminded yachties not to ‘set and forget’.
“There are many yachties who sail around the spectacular Capricorn Coast region, and occasionally they set a troll line and forget, as they later sail into a green zone,” Mr Simpson said.
The Authority continues to crack down on illegal fishing hotspots with targeted aerial and vessel patrols day and night — so if you do the wrong thing, you will get caught.
“Green zones are working and we need your help to protect them: A DNA study of coral trout in the Keppels shows strong evidence that protected areas contribute significantly to replenishing populations of targeted fish species of reefs open to fishing. When someone fishes illegally they are stealing from everyone,” Mr Simpson said.
“By playing your part to protect the Reef you are helping keep the Capricorn Coast a special place for the community, visitors and future generations.”
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
Zoning maps are available at www.gbrmpa.gov.au and marine parks zoning information is on our free Eye on the Reef app.