Boyne Island resident Gareth Andrew is a Reef Guardian and commercial live trout fisherman.
Boyne Island resident Gareth Andrew is a Reef Guardian and commercial live trout fisherman. Tegan Annett

Commercial fisherman puts face on reef campaign

BOYNE Island commercial live trout fisherman Gareth Andrew is a firm advocate for protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

A career change from a dairy farmer to a fisherman in 1987 started from an unconditional passion.

"It's such a beautiful work environment. I thought it was baffling to be able to be paid to catch fish in the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Andrew said.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is constantly vowing to ensure sustainability for our reef through smarter fishing practices 

Mr Andrew is part of a new billboard campaign as the face of Reef Guardian line fishers.

There are eight billboards on major highways between Cairns and Bundaberg, highlighting the great work Reef Guardians are doing.

Mr Andrew can be seen on one of these billboards, which is currently in Rockhampton.

Mr Andrew said first and foremost it was about establishing good practices to help look after the resource fishermen used.

"Everyone who is working or has anything to do with the reef has a duty of care for it."

But he said the program was important to improve the image of fishermen.

"Fishing is not just about fishermen with a bad image, but having a passion and genuine love and care for our environment," he said

From storing and tying down rubbish to using non-stainless steel hooks, over time a number of practices to support sustainability of the Great Barrier Reef have been established.

"Everything helps," Mr Andrew said. "We go the extra steps to report all those things that aren't right."

He described commercial fishermen as the eyes of reef.

"Eventually all of this will just be a standard fishing practice," he said.