'No tolerance:' Marine authority crack down on illegal fishers
AERIAL patrols will crack down on Cap Coast illegal fishermen breaking the law these school holidays.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said aerial and on-water patrols were out in force to catch law breakers in the region in an effort to hone in on hot spots prone to illegal fishing.
Patrols will run day and night on the water over the September holidays and October long weekend as well as in the air and land to catch anyone breaking the law in popular areas including shoals east of Port Clinton, Barcoo Bank, One Tree Island and Warrego Shoals.
Recreational fishing offences accounted for 56% of all Marine Park offences last financial year which was an increase on the 43% reported in 2015-16.
Field management director Chris Cochrane said it was concerning illegal recreational fishing was becoming a bigger problem.
"While we want to see people out in the Marine Park enjoying it, there is no excuse for illegal fishing," Mr Cochrane said.
"If you're caught fishing in a green zone you can expect a $2100 infringement notice, or potential prosecution in court.
"Any poaching in marine protected areas is treated as a serious offence - the cumulative impacts of illegal fishing can have significant ecological impacts and threaten Reef resilience."
GBRMPA have no-tolerance to recreational fishers caught doing the wrong thing with dozens of fines handed out the the culprits equating to about $50,000 in fines.
Mr Cochrane said Marine Park visitors needed to know where they were at all times when on the water saying a GPS was a handy device to know the zones.
Free zoning maps are available at all bait and tackle shops and numerous marine facilities as well as online and over the phone.
They can also be downloaded from www.gbrmpa.gov.au or by calling (07) 4750 0700.