New tool to show where spearfishing is allowed in the Whitsundays area

Spearfishers visiting the Whitsundays will have a clearer understanding of where they can and can’t spearfish thanks to a new map that combines all the rules.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority general manager Simon Banks said there were special rules for spearfishing in the Whitsundays, one of the Reef’s most highly-visited regions with the greatest concentration of users.

“While these rules have been in place for quite some time and haven’t changed, new material is available to help spearfishers understand where they can and can’t spearfish,” Dr Banks said.

The new flyer was produced by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in response to requests from the community and includes a map that combines all the rules to simply show what areas are open and closed to spearfishing.

Dr Banks said common areas incorrectly targeted by spearfishers included Hayman and North and South Molle Islands. Spearfishing is not permitted at these protected locations.

Spearfishers are also reminded that powerheads, other firearms, lights, scuba and any other underwater breathing apparatus are not permitted when spearfishing on the Great Barrier Reef.

Penalties for not following zoning rules can include a fine of up to $2100.

“While we welcome visitors to this spectacular region, it’s important all Reef users take responsibility to understand what’s allowed and where before they enter the marine parks,” Dr Banks said.

“The Whitsundays particularly needs our combined efforts to support Reef recovery following tropical cyclone Debbie in March this year.

“Steps visitors can take to help protect the Reef include taking only what’s needed; using a public mooring or finding sand instead of anchoring on coral, and avoiding taking plant-eating fish like parrotfish, which remove algae and provide space for new corals to grow.”

Going Spearfishing in the Whitsundays is available from Whitsundays and Mackay region boating, fishing and tackle shops; local Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. It can also be downloaded as a PDF.