QUEENSLAND Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers are putting an eye in the sky to help protect our state’s fisheries resources with drones being deployed at key locations.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said a fleet of 10 drones would be used by compliance officers to extend their surveillance reach.
“By its nature, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol field work can be hazardous and officers at times operate in difficult and often isolated environments,” Mr Furner said. “The new drones will allow Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers to monitor marine habitats and fishing operations from a distance. The 10 drones have been deployed to the Gold Coast, Warwick, Noosa, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Karumba and in Brisbane, with trained pilots in each of these locations. Footage from these drones could be used to gather intelligence, prosecute people who break the rules and support training of the Marine Animal Rescue Team.”
The Minister said the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol monitored the compliance of more than 642,000 recreational fishers and 1700 commercial fishing licence holders statewide.
“Protecting this resource is building a legacy of a sustainable fishery for our children and grandchildren,” Mr Furner said. “Our crews operate along the Queensland coast, inland and in the Gulf of Carpentaria, covering 7000km of coastline and hundreds of inland fishing areas from far western Queensland to offshore waters 200 nautical miles to sea. It’s a huge task and we’re always looking at more efficient, safer ways for our officers to go about their business. The drones are just the latest high tech tools provided to our frontline fisheries compliance officers.
“Body cameras and new surveillance kits have also been rolled out across the State to help officers do their job and find identify anybody breaking the rules.”