The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is boosting patrols in the Bowen region over the Christmas holidays to prevent illegal recreational fishing. GBRMPA will focus on illegal fishing in no-take green zones, including shoals and shipwrecks at night.

GBRMPA acting Field Management Director Mark Read said the authority will be working with its partner agencies due to the serious non-compliance problem in the region. There will be n $1,800 fine for people caught fishing in green zones.

“Green zones are critical for protecting and conserving the biodiversity of marine ecosystems,” Read said. “They help protect important fish breeding and nursery habitats such as seagrasses, mangroves, and shoals.”

People can avoid fishing in green zones by using their GPS unit to monitor their location. Read suggests to check GPS coordinates of zones and cross check the location with a zoning map.

There has been an increasing number of anglers and spearfishers caught and fined for illegal fishing in green zones across the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 2015. The GBRMPA emphasised spearfishing is not allowed in Public Appreciation Special Management Areas.

These special management areas appear as yellow zones surrounded by a pink dotted line on zoning maps. GBRMPA noted in the Whitsunday Islands, most yellow zones are within a single large Public Appreciation Special Management Area.

GBRMPA advises the public to report illegal fishing in the restricted areas. People can report to (07) 4726 0588 or through an incident report form at

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