Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Fisherman cop one-year reef ban

TWO commercial fishers have been banned from fishing on the Great Barrier Reef for an entire year.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has issued the ban after the commercial line fishers were convicted of multiple illegal fishing offences during a 10-month period.

All of the offences occurred at Swain Reefs, which extend from 110km to 250km offshore from the Gladstone-Rockhampton area.

It is understood that at least one of the fishermen lives in Cairns.

The 12-month ban, which applies both commercially and recreationally, covers the entire 344,400 square kilometre marine park.

Failure to comply with the ban could result in further prosecution and a fine of up to $105,000.

GBRMPA field management director Richard Quincey said the penalty emphasised the importance placed on protecting no-take areas.

"Fishers who intentionally ignore no-take zone rules are letting down honest fishers and pose an unacceptable threat to the Reef," he said.

"The cumulative impacts of illegal fishing can have significant ecological impacts and threaten Reef resilience and we treat it as a serious offence.

"Green zones are more important than ever to support the Reef ecosystem to recover from persistent threats."

During a recent patrol blitz during the Christmas-New Year period, GBRMPA and partner agencies detected 41 instances of people fishing in the wrong zones, including no-take areas.

Reports of suspected illegal activity in the Marine Park can be made anonymously by calling the 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online.