Frequently asked questions
The Great Sandy Marine Park covers approximately 6,000km2 of tidal lands and waters stretching from Baffle Creek in the north to Double Island Point in the south. It includes Hervey Bay, Great Sandy Strait, Tin Can Inlet and the waters off the World Heritage-listed K'gari (Fraser Island) seaward to three nautical miles.
The Great Sandy Marine Park aims to:
- protect and conserve marine species, ecosystems, habitats, populations and genetic biodiversity, including internationally recognised wetlands and threatened species
- provide opportunities and access for ecologically sustainable use of the area including recreational, commercial, research and traditional activities.
The park has five different zones and nine designated areas, classified according to the natural values of each area, with regulations covering recreational and commercial use.
How is the marine park managed?
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) manages the marine park. Management activities include:
- conducting public education and interpretation
- monitoring critical flora and fauna
- encouraging and supporting scientific research
- permitting activities occurring in the marine park
- undertaking compliance and enforcement activities.
What can I do in a marine national park zone (green zone)?
Marine national park zones, commonly referred to as green zones, are ‘look but no take’ areas.
- They provide for protection of the natural integrity and values of the marine environment.
- Marine plants, animals or products cannot be removed from these zones.
- Low impact activities such as swimming, snorkelling, diving and boating are allowed.
- Travelling through a marine national park zone with fish on board is permitted provided the fish were caught outside this zone.
- All fishing equipment, must be stowed and secured prior to entering a buffer zone or green zone.
- This does not apply to equipment used for trolling of pelagic species within buffer zones.
- All hand-held rods must be stowed on board the boat or secured in rod holders.
- While a hook can still be attached to a line, it should be secured to the hand-line or rod.
How are buffer zones different from green zones?
- Buffer zones have the same entry and use provisions as marine national park zones.
- They are identified on the zoning map in olive green.
Currently, the only buffer zone in the Great Sandy Marine Park is an area around the marine national park zone at Wolf Rock. In this zone, all fishing equipment must be stowed and secured prior to entering a buffer zone, except for equipment used in trolling for pelagic species.
How can I find out about marine park zone boundaries?
- Aerial photograph insets with GPS points have been provided for easy reference to green zones and go slow designated areas.
- Great Sandy Marine Park sector signs have been installed at all major boat ramps.
- Take time to read these signs before you enter the marine park zone; it may save you a fine.
Green zones and go slow areas have been signed in high use areas and estuaries. Look out for:
- marine national park zone (green zone) buoys, signs and totems
- go slow area marker piers, buoys and signs.
Is spearfishing allowed in the marine park?
Limited spearfishing (by snorkel only) is permitted in all zones except buffer zones (light brown) and marine national park zones (green zones). Remember you must comply with the regulations or conditions placed upon spearfishing by the Fisheries Act and Regulation.
Is line fishing or spearfishing allowed off the shore at Hoffmans Rocks and Burkitts Reef?
- Spearfishing, or line fishing, is allowed in the area from Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT)* out to 100m.
- The marine national park zones at Hoffmans Rocks and Burkitts Reef start 100m from HAT and extend to the east.
* HAT is the highest level of tide which can be predicted to occur under average weather and tidal conditions.
What is the difference between recreational fishing in a conservation park zone within the Great Sandy Designated Area (yellow zone with red horizontal lines) compared to a conservation park zone outside the designated area (yellow zone)?
Conservation park zones encompass significant marine environmental values in the marine park. In yellow zones, recreational fishing is allowed with one line/rod per person and one hook.
Yellow zones with red lines:
The Great Sandy Designated Area, which overlays the conservation park zone (yellow) in many parts of the marine park, encompasses the values of conservation park zones as well as recognising the existing lawful fisheries, and consequently allows recreational fishing with 3 lines/rods per person and a combination of up to 6 hooks.
- For more detailed information see the Great Sandy Marine Park visitor guide .
- The designated areas are identified in the map legends and are shown as red lines over the yellow zone.
What is the definition of a hook?
A hook includes:
- a single-shanked double or treble hook
- an artificial lure with not more than 3 hooks
- an artificial fly
- a jig for taking squid
- a ganged hook set of not more than 6 hooks
- a bait jig is a hook or group of hooks, of not more than 6 hooks, of a size between number 1 and 12 inclusively or an equivalent size.
What is the purpose of a go slow area?
- Go slow areas protect turtles and dugong from disturbance, injury or death caused by boats.
- Boats must not operate on the plane in go slow areas.
- Boats must not operate in a manner that could reasonably be expected to result in the striking of a turtle or dugong.
- Official marked navigational channels and transit lanes at Poona and Kauri creeks are excluded from the go slow areas.
How will I know when my vessel is 'on the plane'?
The speed at which each vessel is ‘on the plane’ varies, but as a guide,
- a vessel is ‘on the plane’ when it is at a speed that allows the hull to travel over the top of the water rather than pushing through it.
What is a ‘shorebird roosting and feeding area’?
- Migratory shorebirds arrive on our shores early in summer and stay to the following autumn to feed and replenish their energy reserves for their return migration to the northern hemisphere.
- Shorebird roosting and feeding areas have been designated to protect shorebirds from disturbance by people, vehicles, aircraft and domestic animals.
- The entire Great Sandy Strait and some key sites in Hervey Bay, including Pelican Banks, are designated shorebird roosting and feeding areas in recognition of their significance for shorebirds.
Can I bring a dog into a shorebird roosting and feeding area?
- Dogs are prohibited from entering the area unless they are controlled and/or restrained in a way that prevents the dog from causing excessive disturbance to shorebirds in the area.
- Penalties, including on-the-spot fines, apply.
What seasonal management provisions are in place in Great Sandy Marine Park?
Marine turtle seasonal management provisions
Mon Repos area
- Foreshore entry and use provisions apply from 15 October to 30 April of the following year.
Turtle protection area
- Trawling is prohibited from 1 November to 31 January the following year.
Seasonal go slow areas
Come into effect from 15 October to 30 April each year.
- Woongarra Coast (from Elliot Heads to Burnett Heads)—extends 300m from shore.
- Rooney Point to Sandy Cape—extends 500m from shore.
What does ‘limited collecting’ mean?
Limited collecting means collecting by hand or using a hand-held implement that is not motorised, or pneumatically or hydraulically operated.
- A restrictions list applies—see ‘Specimens to be taken or possessed subject to restrictions’ (Schedule 2, Part 2 of the zoning plan (You can take no more than 5 specimens from this restrictions list in any 28 day period.
- Limited collecting is allowed in all zones except for buffer zones and green zones.
- Any collecting that does not fall under this definition requires a permit and can only be conducted in habitat protection zones (dark blue) and general use zones (light blue).
Can I collect coral when I am visiting the Great Sandy Marine Park?
No. The collection of coral for personal use, such as in home aquariums, is prohibited.
How long can I anchor in one place?
- Where there are no approved moorings, anchoring limits apply to prevent damage to seagrass, coral, and bottom-dwelling animals, and to manage pollution and vessel numbers.
- You must not anchor for more than 14 consecutive days or more than 30 days in any 60 day period, in the one location without a permit.
How are commercial fishers managed within the marine park?
All use of the marine park, whether commercial or recreational, is managed under the ‘entry and use provisions’ of the Great Sandy Marine Park zones and designated areas.
- Commercial trawling is only permitted in the general use zones.
- Beam trawling is permitted in the Mary River as part of the Great Sandy Designated Area.
- Commercial line fishing, crabbing and netting is permitted in general use zones, habitat protection zones, and the Great Sandy Designated Area, which includes the Great Sandy Strait, Elliott and Burrum rivers and Baffle Creek.
Can commercial fishing vessels plane in go slow areas?
No. All marine park users must operate ‘off the plane’ in go slow areas.
- There are currently no park alerts for this park.