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by Nic Welch

If you are boating or fishing in the Gold Coast and Brisbane areas, you need to be aware of the size and possession limits of your catch, and the boating rules and regulations. However, you also need to know if you are inside the boundary of the Moreton Bay Marine Park (better to presume that you are!), as this area has its own special rules and regulations that must also be followed.

The Moreton Bay Marine Park encompasses Moreton Bay, Jumpinpin, the Southport Broadwater, some rivers and tributaries, and several nautical miles offshore from Moreton Island, Bribie Island, and North and South Stradbroke Islands.


The Moreton Bay Marine Park has four zone types:

  1. General use zone (light blue);
  2. Habitat protection zone (dark blue);
  3. Conservation park zone (yellow);
  4. Marine national park zone (green).

Each zone has its own rules with regard to fishing and boating activities.

GREEN ZONE – Marine National Park. While anyone can enter and undertake activities such as boating, snorkelling and sailing, no fishing, crabbing, or bait gathering is permitted in the green marine national park zones. Like a national park in the water, these areas are ‘NO-TAKE areas’ of high conservation value. Green zones provide the greatest level of protection in the marine park. All forms of take (fishing, collecting or extracting) are prohibited.

All fishing equipment including rods, crab pots, cast nets, and yabby pumps must be stowed or secured; otherwise you will be fined. “Stowed” means being not readily useable for fishing. For example, bait must be removed from hooks, fishing lures must be removed from lines, bait must be removed from crab pots, and you cannot have a cast net tied around your wrist.

YELLOW ZONE – Conservation Park. These zones are areas of high conservation value for habitat and wildlife that also allow for limited recreational and commercial uses such as fishing and crabbing.

A maximum of two lines and a total of two hooks per angler is permitted. A fishing lure with up to 3 trebles is considered to be a single hook, as are squid jigs, bait jigs (with up to 6 hooks of size 1-12), and gangs with up to 6 adjoined hooks (as long as the shank passes through the eye; hooks joined by swivels are considered individual hooks).

The yellow conservation park zone rules specify that only a maximum of four crab pots per person is permitted.

DARK BLUE ZONE – Habitat Protection. The dark blue habitat protection zones protect sensitive habitats by keeping them generally free from potentially damaging activities. No trawling is allowed in these zones.

LIGHT BLUE ZONE – General Use. The light blue general use zones provide for conservation while allowing a wide range of activities to occur including trawling (with an appropriate commercial fishing permit).

The Queensland recreational fishing rules and regulations on crab pots, specifying that no more than four crab pots per person may be used, and that there must not be more than four pots on a boat per person when on the water, also apply in both dark blue and light blue zones.

Please be aware that it is quite impractical and financially unviable to sign every part of every zone within the marine park. It is, therefore, the skipper’s responsibility to be aware of the vessel’s current location and to be able to determine if the vessel is inside a particular zone boundary. Ignorance of the rules, or being unaware of your current location, is not a valid excuse to save yourself from being fined by Moreton Bay Marine Parks, the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol, or the Queensland Water Police.



Published in print October-December 2023