Authority issues warning about illegal fishing
ANGLERS dabbling in 'green zones' in the Capricorn Bunker group be warned - bait a fish and you will be fined.
A spate of illegal fishing has brought on a warning from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Hooking a fish in the no-go areas in the Capricorn Bunker Group and shoals around Lady Elliott Island is attracting fines of up to $220,000 for commercial fisherman, and $1700 for recreational anglers.
The 'look but no take' areas are recognised as ecologically diverse and sustain a variety of endangered marine plants and animals.
Local fisherman Adrain Routledge only dips a line in for pleasure, but he says many others are disregarding regulations on a daily basis.
"The fish found in these waters are particularly chased after by the Asian market," he said.
"It's well known (by fishermen) that you'd have to be pretty unlucky to get caught.
"But if a commercial fisherman is busted, the fines are large enough to put you out of business for good."
GBRMPA acting director of field management Chris Cochrane said the implications of illegal fishing were widespread.
"The cumulative effect of illegal fishing in protected areas can damage the marine ecosystem, affecting both the targeted fish and the wider health of the reef," Mr Cochrane said.
Mr Cochrane said there had been 80 incidents of illegal fishing in Capricorn Bunkers since 2011 through aerial, vessel and land-based patrols.
The most recent was only one month ago.
- North Reef Island, Tyron Island, Brew Shoal and surrounding waters
- Wilson Island and surrounding waters
- Irving Reef, Polmaise Reef and surrounding waters
- Western side of Heron island and surrounding waters
- Llewellyn Reef, Hoskyn Islands, Fairfax Island and the northern end of Lady Musgrave Island and surrounding waters
- Wreck Rock and surrounding coastal fringes at Deepwater National Park
- Encompassing waters of Lady Elliot Island
- No access is permitted to Wreck Island, One Tree Island and surrounding waters