Know your zones in Ningaloo Marine Park, WA
PEOPLE heading to popular camping destinations near Ningaloo Marine Park during the upcoming school holidays have been urged to do some homework so they do not to incur a hefty fine for illegal recreational fishing.
The Marine Park, which stretches for 300 km along the Gascoyne coast, consists of five zones, including 16 Sanctuary Areas where motorised vessels are permitted but all fishing and collecting activities are prohibited.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development senior fisheries officer Dave Lewington said there were digital tools and online information available to guide fishers as to what activities they are allowed to do and where.
Mr Lewington encouraged holiday-makers to download the free Recfishwest and Marine Parks WA apps before they departed for their trip.
“The zone system has different areas and conditions for crabbing, line fishing, mollusc fishing, spearfishing, netting including throw netting for bait and the use of motorised vessels,” he said.
“Both these apps have a function that allows users to see their current location within the Marine Park and what activities they can enjoy in each area.
“The apps are easy to use and once downloaded can be accessed offline, even when no mobile telephone coverage is available.”
Zone information is also available HERE.
The zones, which are clearly colour coded on the webpage for easy identification, include no take sanctuary zones, low water special purpose zones, special purpose zones for shore-based activities, recreation zones and a general use zone.
Mr Lewington said the Sanctuary Areas were protected from fishing activities under the Fish Resources Management Act (1994).
“These are areas that have important habitats to help conserve marine biodiversity, which are also valuable for scientific research and monitoring,” he said.
“While people are allowed in the area, these are look but don’t take areas, where any type of fishing and collecting activities are not allowed.”
DPIRD treats offences in the Sanctuary Areas seriously, which can incur a fine of up to $5000 for a first offence and an additional penalty of 10 times the prescribed value of the catch.
More than 100 illegal fishing offences were recorded between April and September 2018, resulting in more than $10,000 in fines.
Anyone with information about suspected illegal fishing activity can make a confidential report to the department’s FishWatch hotline 1800 815 507.
The Recfishwest and Marine Parks WA apps are available in both Apple and Android formats.