In 2015, five temporary Reef Fish Protection Areas were introduced across the Northern Territory to protect significant fish aggregation sites and to aid in the recovery of key species in heavily fished areas.
The two protection areas closest to Darwin at Charles Point Wide and Lorna Shoal had been severely depleted over time and were designed to allow fish populations to recover for the long-term benefit of all recreational fishers.
While the majority of fishers are doing the right thing and assisting in the rebuilding of stocks, there is evidence that some people are undermining recovery efforts by illegally fishing in the Reef Fish Protection Areas.
Last week three separate recreational fishing vessels were apprehended by Water Police while fishing inside the Charles Point Reef Protection Area. Notices to appear before Magistrates Court have been issued and Fisheries and Water Police will continue to adopt a zero tolerance in relation to these types of fisheries offences.
If you have evidence of illegal fishing activity occurring within the closures, please assist with rebuilding our fish stocks by reporting the incident via the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 891 136.
The locations of the Reef Fish Protection Areas are show below. For more information on the recreational fishing rules, visit the Fisheries website Know Your Limits Booklet