THE Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has taken steps to prevent a twice-convicted commercial fisher from engaging in further illegal fishing by barring the fisher from anchoring in a green zone.
A series of restrictions have been imposed on the fisher through an enforceable direction — the first one to be issued by the agency.
The fisher has been ordered to refrain from a number of activities in a green zone, including anchoring a vessel or being on board an anchored vessel, or operating a vessel at a speed of five knots or less.
Acting general manager of Great Barrier Reef operations Richard Quincey said the fisher had twice been convicted for offences in zones where fishing is prohibited.
“The fisher holds convictions for fishing in a green zone and for failing to prevent a vessel being used for fishing in such a zone,” Mr Quincey said.
“These offences occurred only a few months apart.
“Our message is clear — if fishers choose to flout the rules we will use our full suite of measures to protect and conserve the Reef.
“Reducing illegal commercial and recreational fishing is a key priority for us as we strive to improve the health of this treasured natural asset.
“If the environment and the community are to reap the full benefits of zoning, now and into the future, then all fishers, whether they’re commercial or recreational, need to act responsibly.
“There has now been considerable research over more than a decade to show that no-take areas contribute to a healthy and productive reef, which is why we will continue to target those fishers who are reducing the effectiveness of these zones through their illegal actions.”
Under the enforceable direction, the same restrictions will apply to any vessel that the fisher is responsible for, whether the fisher is on board or not.
Under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act, a written direction can be made to ensure a person’s future compliance with the Act and to require them to take specific actions to prevent environmental harm that may be caused by their conduct.
A failure to comply with the direction carries a penalty of up to $108,000.
Suspected incidences of illegal fishing can be reported via the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority website at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/report-an-incident