If you are heading out on the Reef over the Easter break, be sure to know how to follow Marine Park zoning rules. That is the simple message from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Reef Authority).
Enjoy the Reef and fish in the right zones, Director of the Reef Authority’s Field Management Operations, Chris Cochrane says as a timely reminder for everyone to know the zoning rules and what is allowed in the Marine Park, for locals and holidaymakers alike.
“It might be holidays for most, but this is a busy time of the year for our compliance teams — aerial and vessel patrols are running day and night over the Easter holidays, targeting illegal fishing activities Reef-wide,” Mr Cochrane said.
“Please don’t be complacent about where you are and what you’re doing — if you’re caught fishing in a no-take green zone, intentional or not you could receive a $2750 fine.”
If you’re planning a Reef trip this Easter, make sure you head to the Reef Authority’s website – gbrmpa.gov.au - for your zoning maps, which contain key information about regulations for on-water and island activities.
The Eye on the Reef app supplies zoning information and is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. The Reef Authority is also urging Marine Park users to help protect the Reef by reporting any suspected illegal activity.
“Any information is invaluable to ensure that we are protecting the biodiversity of our Reef and protect fish stocks for future generations,” Mr Cochrane said.
“The local knowledge of Marine Park users is important in helping us to make sure we’re effective in protecting the Reef from illegal activities.
“Most fishers do the right thing, but if you see someone doing the wrong thing, say something. Our 24-hour hotline enables round the clock reporting and all reports are followed up.”
Mr Cochrane said abiding by zoning rules and adopting responsible Reef and island practices was critical for protecting the iconic Reef, but also helping keep marine park users out of trouble.
“The Reef Authority has a strong commitment to protecting the World Heritage Area from illegal activities and we have a no-tolerance approach to poaching in marine national park zones. It’s stealing and it impacts on everyone.”
Report poaching and other suspected illegal activity anonymously via the Authority’s 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online at gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident