The commercial anglers were caught fishing in a no-take green zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The commercial anglers were caught fishing in a no-take green zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. pniesen

Aerial surveillance nabs commercial fishers in marine park

TWO commercial fishers have copped a significant fine in a Mackay court for fishing in a no-take green zone of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The anglers faced Mackay Magistrates Court over illegal fishing offences, a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority spokesman said.

The dory operator was fined $500 by a magistrate for fishing in no-take areas around the reef, while the master of the primary commercial fishing vessel was fined $4000.

Aerial surveillance patrols found the pair illegally fishing from a commercial fishing dory anchored at Swain Reefs on January 5 last year.

The dory operator did not have a GPS plotter on board, GBRMPA said in a statement issued today.

Field management and compliance assistant director Ben Kettle said the court case was a timely reminder for all fishers to ensure they were up to date with all relevant laws.

"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.”

Fishers ignoring marine park zoning rules could expect to be detected and face "hefty fines”, the authority warned.

"We have patrols day and night to detect illegal fishing,” Mr Kettle said.

"We also encourage the community to do their bit to protect their patch and report suspected illegal fishing ... ”

Report suspected illegal fishing activities anonymously via the authority's 24-hour hotline by phoning 1800 380 048, or visit gbrmpa.gov.au online.



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