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Seaweek 2010: Oceans of Life - ours to explore; ours to restore


• Fishing in Australia can be divided into 2 categories, recreational and commercial.

• Coral reefs provide a nursery for 30% of fish species in the GBR and are therefore an important component of fish populations and the fishing industry.

• Worth over $2 billion annually, fishing and aquaculture is the fifth most valuable Australian rural industry after wool, beef, wheat and dairy.

• There are many different fishing techniques used worldwide, including handfishing, spear & bow fishing, netting, angling, trapping, dredging, trained animals, cyanide & other toxins, explosives and electrofishing. Each of these has different impacts on the marine environment, the last three methods being particularly damaging.

• Australia’s fishing zone is the third largest in the world although the waters lack nutrient-rich currents and therefore have lower fishing catch. • Australian waters contain some 3,000 known species of fish and at least an equal number of crustaceans and molluscs, but only about 10 per cent are commercially fished.

• Recreational fishing in Australia is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, and an important leisure activity for over five million Australians.

• The top 5 angling fish from the GBR are: Australian Bass, Barramundi, Bream, Coral Trout & Crabs.

• There are a number of no-take species, which are prohibited catch under Queensland fisheries regulations. These fish must be immediately returned to the water, should they be accidentally taken.

• On the GBR fishing is restricted in some areas (Marine Park Zones) in an effort to keep fishing sustainable and particular animals - like whales, dolphins, green turtles and dugong - are protected.

• Traditional fishing is an important part of the cultural heritage and subsistence of the many saltwater Aboriginal people of the Great Barrier Reef region.

Further Links:

• Department of Aquaculture, Fisheries and Forestry:

• Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries:

• James Cook University Fishing & Fisheries Research Centre:

• Queensland no-take species:



Bycatch from trawl fishing, including fish, crinoids, molluscs and crustaceans
from GBRMPA Image Collection

Trawlers anchored in sheltered lagoon
from GBRMPA Image Collection

A marlin gets weighed in on the
beach at Lizard Island
from GBRMPA Image Collection

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