Fine-refuting fisher snags bigger penalty


A recreational fisher who was caught illegally fishing in a no-take area off Orpheus Island opted to have the matter heard in court — only to receive a higher penalty from the Townsville Magistrate Court.

The fisher received an original $2100 fine for trolling through the no-take green zone north of Townsville last year, with the court increasing the fine up to $2500 and recording a conviction.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority compliance and field operations assistant director Ben Kettle said it was a timely reminder for fishers to know the zoning rules and how to use a GPS.

“Marine parks visitors need to understand where they are going and what’s allowed before getting to the boat ramp, and ensure they have access to zoning information on-board,” Kettle said.

“There are a variety of zoning tools available including GPS, free zoning maps and the free Eye on the Reef app — so not knowing is no excuse.

“In this case, the offender had a GPS unit, but didn’t know how to use it. This is a timely reminder to prepare ahead of going out on the water.” he said.

With increased pressures on the Reef, the Authority and its partners are running more aerial and vessel patrols day and night to catch poachers in the act.

The community can report suspected illegal fishing activity anonymously via the Authority’s free 24-hour hotline: 1800 380 048 or online at

Every report is taken seriously and contributes to protecting the reef.

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