Reef Guardian Fishers

The Reef Guardian Fishers program recognises commercial fishers who are fishing sustainably and maintaining the health of the Great Barrier Reef while building the future of their fishery, their business and the Reef.

Reef Guardian Fishers recognise the future of their fisheries relies on the health and resilience of the Reef. They use operational and innovative practices and procedures to go beyond what is required by State and Federal laws.

There are 17 fishing operations across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park recognised under the Reef Guardian program.

Participants in the program:

  • Set robust voluntary protocols for their operations
  • Develop innovative practices to minimise impacts on the environment and non-target species
  • Share knowledge with other fishers and their communities
  • Assist with research and trialling new technologies.

Reef Guardian Fishers work with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to find ways to protect their operations and limit stress to the Reef in extreme weather events (for example cyclones and floods) and climate change.

Participants also report back to the Marine Park Authority on the health of the marine environment. For example, coral damage, sightings of rare or unusual species.

The reef line fishery and commercial marine aquarium fish and coral collectors were the first fisheries to take part in the Reef Guardian Fishers program. The program has now expanded to include the large mesh gill net fishery and trawl. This now means that all major fisheries occurring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park are represented in the Reef Guardian fishers program.


Reef Guardian Fisher collage

Joining the Reef Guardian Fishers program

Commercial fishers operating in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park looking to join the program are assessed in operational areas including:

  • Fishing operations
  • Vessel operations
  • Business management
  • Community engagement
  • Risk management.

Participants and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority are working together to refine and develop the standard.


For more information on how to join the program contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Reef Guardian Participant Interviews

Image of Reef Guardian participant



Reef Guardian interview with Michael Gardner from the Queensland Seafood industry Association

Image of Reef Guardian participant



Reef Guardian interview with Gareth Andrew, commercial line fisherman