Vessels sighted in no-entry zone off Gladstone coast
AN INVESTIGATION is underway after two recreational fishermen were busted in a Great Barrier Reef no-entry zone offshore from Gladstone.
Compliance officers detected two recreational vessels travelling through the Scientific Research (Orange) Zone, which is a Restricted Access Special Management Area, at One Tree Island Reef.
Entry to this area is prohibited without permission from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Marine Park Authority compliance surveillance acting assistant director Owen Witt warned boaties about the impacts of taking shortcuts through no-entry orange zones.
"It's important to remember that the Marine Park is a multiple-use area and zoning helps to manage and protect the values of the Marine Park that users enjoy," he said.
"No-entry orange zones allow for scientific research and monitoring to be undertaken, and enables research to be carried out without disturbance by other users.
"When boaties enter these zones without permission, they put at risk important research and monitoring being undertaken in these areas."
The recent detections are currently under investigation by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
Mr Witt said most people did the right thing and followed zoning rules, however people were still taking shortcuts through no-entry orange zones.
"Some believe they can take shortcuts through no-entry orange zones and won't get detected - this isn't the case," he said.
Mr Witt said there were many zoning tools available to help people follow the rules, including GPS, free maps and the free Eye of the Reef app that works outside mobile ranges.
There are only two no-entry orange zones in the Marine Park, one at One Tree Island Research Station and the other adjacent to the Australian Institute of Marine Science near Townsville.
Suspected illegal activity can be reported to 24-hour free hotline 1800 380 048, or online at gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident.