Australia Defence Vessel Cape Inscription Navigation Officer Lieutenant Rhys Worboys and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority officer Dwaine Butcher in front of Reef Ranger, a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service vessel. Picture: Contributed
Australia Defence Vessel Cape Inscription Navigation Officer Lieutenant Rhys Worboys and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority officer Dwaine Butcher in front of Reef Ranger, a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service vessel. Picture: Contributed

Hi-tech navy joins search for illegal fishers in QLD waters

The Royal Australian Navy has brought their high tech equipment to the fight against illegal fishers within marine parks off the Queensland coast.

The recent eight-day surveillance mission between the Maritime Border Command and the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority extended from Cape Bowling Green near Townsville down to the northern tip of Fraser Island including Whitsunday, Tern, Capricorn and Bunker islands.

The search used the Cairns-based Australian Defence Vessel Cape Inscription as well as helicopter flyovers and a MX-10 telescopic camera on Cape Inscription's bridge to detect night fishers.

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Most of the illegal activity was found off the coast of Gladstone near the Capricorn and Bunker islands.

GBRMPA officer Dwaine Butcher, the first to join a navy vessel on such an operation, said it was an "unforgettable" experience.

"I really enjoyed my time with the crew as well as seeing the capability of Maritime Border Command assets," Mr Butcher said.

"I am looking forward to enhancing the bond between our two agencies."

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Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Richard Currie said the joint mission ensured continued protection of the reef.

"The tasking was a great opportunity to strengthen our ties with the GBRMPA," Lieutenant Commander Currie said.

"Providing their officers with a platform such as Cape Inscription allowed the GBRMPA to enforce the marine park rules at night and in areas that cannot normally be achieved."


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