Chloe Lucas chloe.lucas at crcreef.com
Wed Feb 23 09:45:41 EST 2005

23 February 2005


Four reefs that have been closed to fishing since 2000 will re-open on 6 March 2005, in the final stage of one of the biggest fisheries experiments in the world. CRC Reef's Effects of Line Fishing Experiment spans more than 1000 kilometres on the Great Barrier Reef, and has been running for 10 years. It is gathering vital information on how fishing affects the number and size of fish on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Unnamed reef 14-133 near Lizard Island, Fork Reef (18-083) off Townsville, Boulton Reef (20-146) off Mackay, and unnamed reef 21-139 near Storm Cay re-open to fishing on 6 March. Two of these reefs (Fork Reef and unnamed reef 21-139), are now zoned as Marine National Park (green) reefs under the current Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan and will open temporarily until and including 30 November only.

"Since 1995, we've been studying how various amounts of fishing affect fish populations on 24 reefs in four clusters of reefs from Cooktown to Rockhampton," said Dr Annabel Jones, from the Effects of Line Fishing Experiment team at CRC Reef. 

"The experiment is providing important information about the effectiveness of green zones and other management strategies. This will help managers to understand how we might expect to see fish stocks change following the implementation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan and the Queensland Coral Reef Fin Fish Management Plan last year. It is also being used in computer models to assess the effectiveness of different management plans 25 or more years into the future," Dr Jones said.

"We've looked at a range of important commercial and by-catch fish species on the Reef. We have found that reefs closed to fishing can have more and larger coral trout and red throat emperor than those where fishing is allowed," Dr Jones said.

Dr Phil Cadwallader, Director of the Fisheries Issues Group at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said "this is a world class experiment, which has provided Marine Park managers and fisheries managers with valuable information on which to base management decisions."

The Effects of Line Fishing Experiment is a collaborative effort between CRC Reef, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, James Cook University, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and the fishing industry.

For co-ordinates of the reefs to be re-opened, visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/key_issues/fisheries/commercial/effects_of_line_fishing_experiment.html 
For more information about the Effects of Line Fishing Experiment visit www.reef.crc.org.au/research/fishing_fisheries/elf.html 

For more information:
Dr Annabel Jones on 07 4781 6365 or 0417 612 737,  annabel.jones at jcu.edu.au
Dr Phil Cadwallader on 07 47500 700,  p.cadwallader at gbrmpa.gov.au
Ms Chloe Lucas, CRC Reef Media Liaison, 07 4729 8450 or 0408 884 521, chloe.lucas at crcreef.com

Chloe Lucas
Media and Publications Officer
CRC Reef Research Centre
PO Box 772
Townsville Qld 4810
Tel: (07) 4729 8450
Mob: 0408 884 521
Email: chloe.lucas at crcreef.com
Please note that I normally work Monday-Wednesday only -please contact Louise Goggin at louise.goggin at crcreef.com or 07 4729 8404 for media assistance when I am unavailable.
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