Australian Marine Parks

Friday 22 February 2019

Last weekend occupants of three local vessels were found to be illegally fishing inside the Cod Grounds Marine Park, nine kilometres off the coast of Laurieton.

This marine park is one of 58 Australian Marine Parks managed by Parks Australia to protect Australia’s offshore marine environment.

Parks Australia’s Director of Marine Parks Compliance, Dr Andrew Read, said he was disappointed to hear that recreational fishers had been caught fishing illegally and warned that they face paying a high price.

“Locals are usually very proud of their patch and good at protecting it,” he said.

“We know most fishers are doing the right thing. Australia’s marine environment is incredible – and supports not only our way of life but many thriving businesses. By sticking to marine park rules, you’re doing your bit to ensure these benefits continue for future generations.

“Fines for recreational fishing in National Park Zones can be up to $10,500 – which makes for an expensive weekend.

“The Cod Grounds Marine Park protects some incredible habitats and species and has very high biodiversity.

“Recreational fishing is one of Australia’s best loved pastimes and recreational fishers are able to fish in 97 per cent of Commonwealth waters within 100 kilometres of the coast – but it is important to know the rules and follow them. We provide lots of tools to help – from downloadable maps on our website to fishing apps like FishSmart NSW,” Dr Read said.

Australian Marine Park rules are also set out at local boat ramps – including those neighbouring the Cod Grounds Marine Park.

Unlike some other Australian Marine Parks the small Cod Grounds Marine Park does not allow any recreational fishing – the entire four square kilometre site is zoned a National Park in recognition of the critically endangered grey nurse shark. The marine park provides outstanding opportunities for tourism, particularly diving.

“We’re also serious about tackling non-compliance. Working in partnership and using new technologies mean we’re able to watch increasingly large areas. If you are carrying out an illegal activity in an Australian Marine Park, you will be caught,” said Dr Read.

“Help us to protect your patch by knowing and following Australian Marine Park rules. If you see an activity that may be illegal call us on 1800 043 536.”

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