Hitting the Barrier Reef these school holidays?

FISHERS heading out to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for the school holidays are reminded to pick up a free zoning map and keep an eye on their location before dropping a line.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority field operations manager Mark Read said it’s an ideal time for locals or visitors to explore the wonders of the Reef.

“The school holidays in June and July are a popular time of year to be heading out to the marine park, so we encourage fishers and campers to be responsible and know and abide by the rules,” Dr Read said.

“We encourage everyone heading out on the water to grab a free zoning map and not put a dampener on the holidays by risking a fine for illegal fishing in areas where fishing isn’t allowed or is limited.

“Zoning maps are useful to keep on boats or in tackle boxes and should be checked regularly.”

Green zones are off-limits to fishing in the marine park; however, they’re open to boating, swimming and snorkelling.

Fishers off Cairns and Bowen should also take note of new special management arrangements around World War II Catalina aircraft wrecks.

To preserve the remaining parts of these wrecks and prevent further damage, access and use within a 1sq km area surrounding the wrecks is limited for all Reef users.

Free zoning maps are widely available from bait and tackle shops, visitor information centres, ship chandlers and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices.

Alternatively, free maps can be obtained from GBRMPA by calling 1800 990 177 or visiting www.gbrmpa.gov.au.

If you’re planning to stay out overnight and camp on an island national park, camping permits are available from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service offices, by phoning 13 74 68 or visiting www.npsr.qld.gov.au

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