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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 6 April 2023

Fisheries officers on alert for the Ningaloo Marine Park holiday season

​Between now and October, droves of holidaymakers will spend time up north enjoying the delights of the Ningaloo Marine Park.

Recreational fishers, whether they be locals or visitors, need to be aware of where they can and can’t fish in Western Australia’s marine parks and where gear or other restrictions apply, including sanctuary areas where fishing is not allowed. 

Last month, in Exmouth Magistrates Court, a 34-year-old local man was issued $1,144.30 in fines, penalties and costs for fishing in Ningaloo’s Jurabi Sanctuary area. The offender told the court he “knew he was fishing in a Sanctuary area” when he caught a giant trevally in September last year.

Also, in March, a 32-year-old man from Waggrakine, who did not appear in the Exmouth Court, was ordered to pay $2474.30 for taking a coral trout with a speargun and other offences. Spearfishing is generally allowed in ocean waters, except in some of WA’s marine protected areas around dive wrecks and during demersal scalefish closures in the West Coast Bioregion.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (DPIRD's) 2023 Recreational Fishing Guide notes that spearfishing is prohibited in the Ningaloo Marine Park between Tantabiddi Well and Winderabandi Point. Spearfishing for rockcod and wrasse is also prohibited in all other waters of the Ningaloo Marine Park. 

As well as taking the barcheek coral trout, the Mid West man illegally took a rock lobster from a Sanctuary Zone and was also fined for possessing prohibited gear (the speargun). 

Northern Region Supervising Fisheries and Marine Officer Darren Schofield said the recent prosecutions were a strong reminder that compliance officers are out and about in the Ningaloo Marine Park to ensure WA’s fishing rules are being followed.

“We are expecting many visitors to the Ningaloo Marine Park region during the Easter break and April school holidays and it’s a wonderful place to visit, however fishers need to know the rules and where they can and can’t fish or face the consequences,” Mr Schofield said. 

“The local community here also like to be guardians of the marine park, so we often receive valuable information about suspected illegal fishing activity.”
  DPIRD works to ensure WA’s fishing rules are being followed

Anyone who suspects illegal fishing activity should call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 or tell us about what you’ve seen via the online form on Crimestoppers.

It is a primary responsibility for DPIRD to manage fisheries and aquatic resources and that extends to managing fishing and fishing compliance in both State and Commonwealth marine parks within WA.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions manages WA’s marine parks, and you can find out more information about any you plan to visit on the Explore Parks WA website​.

Last modified: 6/04/2023 5:12 PM

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