New speed boat for marine park to combat illegal fishing
GLADSTONE Marine Park Authority unveiled a new boat to combat illegal fishing which has been "quite a problem" in the region in the last 14 months yesterday.
The more than $550,000 Karamea was shown off in Gladstone Marina yesterday by Minister for Parks and the Great Barrier Reef Dr Steven Miles.
The purpose of the boat is to help marine park authority rangers enforce compliance issues including illegal fishing.
The boat has a cruising speed of 24 knots and a top speed of 40 knots.
Principal ranger for the Southern Great Barrier Reef Dave Orgill said the boat would be based in Gladstone Marina.
"We've had quite a problem with illegal fishing in the Capricorn Bunker group (from Lady Elliott to Great Keppel)," he said.
"When people start to comply more we will move the boat to the next place that has a compliance issue."
He said the new boat replaced a smaller boat, the only other boat like it in the fleet, which had been relocated back to Townsville.
"This one has improved sea keeping, operates at night better and has a larger range," he said.
The Karamea holds 1000L of fuel which means it can travel from Gladstone to Fraser Island and back on one tank.
Dr Miles said over Christmas the boat was used to catch people illegal fishing.
"Compliance is a big part of what this vessel is for," he said.
"As well as enforcing conservation rules the workforce does a lot of things on islands to conserve flora and fauna," he said.
"What a lot of people don't appreciate is the Great Barrier area is 350,000sq km and this boat will help them get around there."