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Net-free fishing zones
Net-free zones in Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton are closed to all commercial netting. These zones were introduced in November 2015 to increase recreational fishing opportunities, supporting tourism and economic growth in regional areas.
Net-free zone boundaries
The following maps show the boundaries of the net-free zones:
- Trinity Bay (Cairns)
- St Helens Beach – Cape Hillsborough (north of Mackay)
- Capricorn coast (Yeppoon, Keppel Bay, Fitzroy River and Rockhampton).
Fishing in net-free zones
Activities prohibited in the net-free zones:
- commercial fishers cannot use commercial nets (including to collect bait for personal use) in the net-free zones
- commercial fishers cannot operate in the net-free zones under any of the following commercial netting symbols – N1, N2, N4, N10, N11, K1, K2, K3, K4, K5, K6, K7, K8.
Activities permitted in the net-free zones:
- commercial fishers can go crabbing, line fishing and trawling in net-free zones – in areas permitted under legislation
- recreational fishers can use cast nets and bait nets in net-free zones – in areas permitted under legislation (nets must be lawful and comply with length and mesh size restrictions).
For further details about restrictions in the net-free zones, refer to fisheries legislation.
Assistance schemes report
Assistance schemes associated with the introduction of net-free zones were implemented in 2015 and 2016 to reduce the potential for increases in fishing effort in other areas and fisheries.
- Last reviewed: 7 Oct 2020
- Last updated: 7 Oct 2020