Trevally school around Heron Island, Queensland, Australia © WWF / James Morgan

Reeling in Reef fishing

  • dolphins
  • dugongs
  • fisheries
  • great barrier reef
  • marine species
  • marine turtles
  • sharks

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park could be a showcase for productive and sustainable tropical fisheries. Healthy fish populations and non-polluting aquaculture are not mutually exclusive. In fact they can go hand in hand, bringing strong social, economic and cultural benefits to Traditional Owners, commercial and recreational fishers, aquaculture farmers and the community.

WWF has a long tradition of collaborating with the Reef's commercial and recreational fishers to protect threatened species such as turtles, dugongs, sharks and inshore dolphins. However, the Reef's fisheries are still subject to outdated policies that allow far too many commercial fishing licences and few limits on how much recreational fishers can take.


Trevally school under the jetty on Heron Island, Queensland, Australia © WWF / James Morgan

We're going to have to work together if we are to safeguard all that we hold dear. So WWF has partnered with local environmental groups, recreational fishing clubs, commercial fishing associations, tackle shops and scientists to develop a new vision for the Reef's fisheries. We're also seeking the community's input into how Reef resources can best be managed and will continue to champion for world’s best practice fishing. Our world's best Reef deserves nothing less.


We encourage everyone with an interest in the future of Queensland's fisheries to participate in the public comment process, and we hope the Review process helps lay the platform for a bright future for Queensland's fisheries.

Professor Glenn Hurry

Review Team Chair


  • Don't rock the boat. Most of the commercial catch from the $30 million coral reef finfish fishery is landed by fishers in small "tinnies" using a hand line and a single hook.



  • 28 May 2014 Community consultation on Queensland Fisheries Review commences.
  • 30 June 2015 Review of Queensland's fisheries management arrangements, with 80 recommendations, concludes.
  • 10 March 2016 2020 VISION: World's Greatest Reef and World's Best Managed Tropical Fisheries supported by 12 environmental non-government organisations, recreational fishing, commercial fishing, tackle industry and research institutions circulated to key Queensland parliamentarians.
  • 16 June 2016 All major parties commit to the electronic monitoring of the GBR commercial fishing fleet.
  • 13 July 2016 Safe Passage for Sea Creatures Campaign. With so many generous donations from supporters, WWF was able to purchase a 1.2 km net to fish for sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. By keeping the net out of the water we save sharks, turtles, dolphins and dugongs.
  • December 2016 Queensland Fisheries Review Green Paper on fisheries management released.

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