Fishers targeted from the air as four pulled before court
MORE than $6500 in fines have been dished out to fishers caught poaching in the Great Barrier Reef green zones from Mackay to Cairns.
A recreational fisher was fishing in a no-take green zone off Brampton Island when he was caught by a marine parks patrol vessel in July 2018.
The fisher was a no-show at the Mackay Magistrates Court, so the matter was dealt with without the accused there.
On July 29, 2019, the recreational fisher was fined $2100 and convicted.
Marine parks vessels and helicopters regularly patrol parts of North Queensland and are continuing to catch fishers poaching in green zones - including four sentenced in the last month.
Three out of the four fishers to appear in courts in July were detected by air.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's compliance assistant director Andrew Simpson said patrols operated day and night from the air and water to target illegal activity and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
"It's really important all commercial or recreational fishers know where they are in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and what's allowed there," Mr Simpson said.
"Science is telling us that zoning is working to protect the Great Barrier Reef and contributes significantly towards replenishing fish stocks in areas open to fishing."
Cairns Magistrates Court
- A commercial charter fishing vessel allowed people on board to fish in a no-take green zone near Hastings Reef in October last year. The offence was detected by a marine parks helicopter patrol and resulted in a $2000 fine and conviction on July 16, 2019.
- An offender was caught trolling from a commercial fishing vessel in a no-take green zone near Cape Melville in September last year. The offence was detected by a marine parks helicopter patrol and resulted in a $1500 fine and conviction on July 16, 2019.
Townsville Magistrates Court
- The master of a primary commercial fishing vessel was detected for a number of illegal activities in October last year, including having two dories unattached in a no-take green zone, resisting public officers and refusing to provide information. The offence was detected by a marine parks helicopter patrol and resulted in a total fine of $2850 on July 18, 2019. The two dory operators had previously been convicted and fined $1200 each for related offences.