Zero tolerance for anglers
MARINE authorities are cracking down on anglers casting in no-take green zones following a surge in illegal fishing reports at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Seaforth.
Having registered 100 reported cases of prohibited fishing, the region has been identified as having the highest non-compliance rate in the marine park and The Great Barrier Reef Marine Authority have urged the community to report any instance of illegal casting.
The Marine Park Authority's assistant director of field management Andrew Simpson said the organisation would have no tolerance for those breaking the rules.
"While we know most recreational fishers understand and follow the zoning rules, there are some who believe occasionally fishing in a green zone is harmless; however nothing could be further from the truth," he said.
"Any time someone fishes illegally, whether it's for commercial or recreational purposes, it undermines the benefits of our zoning arrangements and puts the health of the reef in jeopardy.
The marine authority will be patrolling the area day and night utilising aerial and vessel methods to pinpoint poachers across the reef and those caught will risk a $2100 fine as well as a possible conviction.
Advisory committee chairwoman Caitlin Davies said that the campaign addresses the future of fishing in the region and said a failure to eliminate illicit casting could present a host of ecological and recreational issues.
"The green zone itself is a nesting area...without having a protected area we're going to start to lose some of the environmental and ecological benefits that we have in the region that are special and unique."