Vessel master fined $8500 for fishing in green zone
A MACKAY vessel master has been slapped with an $8500 fine after three of his unattached dories were caught fishing in a green zone in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The matter was heard in the Mackay Magistrates Court last week, following an aerial surveillance operation in January 2015 which detected the dories fishing for coral trout offshore of Mackay in the Swains Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority prosecuted the master under Great Barrier Marine Park Regulations.
The court heard the fisher had previously been convicted of similar offences, including two offences for having dories unattached in a green zone and a yellow zone while operating as a master, and one in a green zone while working as a dory operator.
Green and yellow zones form a part of a network of zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and are designed to protect and conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystem, while allowing for ecologically sustainable use.
Suspected illegal commercial fishing activities are targeted through regular surveillance operations of the Marine Park.
Patrols are conducted through a multi-agency program that includes the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, Queensland Police and Maritime Border Command.
Suspected incidences of illegal fishing can be made at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident.