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April 29, 2022 4 min read

Conservationists Buy Fishing License to Protect Great Barrier Reef Marine Wildlife.

I know what you’re thinking… Fishing License and protecting marine life aren’t usually in the same sentence…Bare with us GFZ’s!  

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),the world’s leading, independent conservation organisation,has taken over a commercial “gill-net” fishing license in The Northern Great Barrier Reef to protect marine wildlife, by creating a net free zone! Woohoooo! With this license they have created a huge patch of the reef as big as Tasmania to be a haven for marine life including the precious dugongs! 

Okay. Faith restored!!!!

Great Barrier Reef Dugong Haven Go For Zero Good earth News Blog

What Exactly is This License?

The commercial license, belonging tothe QSIA ( Queensland Seafood Industry Association) was originally for a gill net fishingarea spanning 700km from Cooktown to the Torres Strait.By the purchase from WWF it will retire the area’s last remaining license!

What is Gill-net Fishing? 

Gill-net fishing is a large nylon net that hangs in the water like a wall, with anchors to the seafloor. The netted mesh sizes are designed to allow fish to get only their head through the netting but not their body, meaning the fish's gills then get caught in the mesh as the fish tries to back out of the net. Horrific! 

Not to mention around 50 vulnerable dugongs a year are entangled in nets along the Queensland coast!The head of oceans for WWF-Australia Richard Leck says it is time for our Government to make gill netting on the Great Barrier Reef FOREVER prohibited, and we couldn’t agree more!

But not anymore!  

What This Means for The Reef:

The team at WWF’s global mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature

With the purchase of this license, WWF is standing by their mission, it will mean that the organization will be the only one now able to perform commercial gillnet fishing in this area, NOT that that will be the case! This strategy will mean that other fisherman and commercial fisheries will not be able to perform this horrendous farming of our beautiful and diverse marine life!

  1. No unsustainable commercial gill net fishing! 
  2. Restored marine life marine turtles, Snubfin dolphins, sawfish, hammerhead sharks and the critically endangered Bizant River shark would now also be protected.
  3. WWF’s buying of net licenses is helping to create ‘one of the largest safe havens for dugongs in the world!Dugongs are listed as vulnerable, because they are slow to breed! Even a small loss of the Dugongs can badly impact their population! The end of the gill netting will now have hopes to see a huge increase of the species! 

The WWF have put in the work and hope to do the same for the remainder of the reef PERMANENTLY. We can even all support them on their journey to a net free north here! 

5 Ways We Help The Great Barrier Reef?

1. Organization Donations & Volunteer Programs!

Organizations such as Green Peace, Save the Reefand Marine Conservation Org offer donation portals and volunteer programs that help and go directly to the source! 

2. Practice Vegan-ism!

Some will take one look and think that vegan life is impossible! However, making some simple changes to your recipes and consumption can be easier than you know and you won’t even realize, just take it one step at a time and don't be afraid to fail! We recently published a blog on How to Transition to a Vegan Diet for Beginners, where we shared 3 EASY delicious vegan recipes!! 

3. Use Reef Safe Sunscreen!

A reef-safe sunscreen is a sunscreen free of chemical ingredients and small particles known to damage and potentially kill coral reefs in the oceans! We stock a wide selection of reef-safe sunscreens here at Go For Zero including an amazing tinted sunscreen from our friends at Sunbutter! 

4. Beach Cleanups! 

Beach cleanups are a great way to give back to the earth and our reefs by keeping plastic out of our oceans and waterways, as well as stopping plastic consumption at its source! You may find there are local groups and events in your area that organize cleanups, or perhaps you could start one, or even go solo!

5.  Go For Zero x Seabin Project 

Here at Go For Zerowe donate $1 from every online sale to support an Aussie purchase project of your choice through our i=Change give back program! One of these projects we invest in cleans the ocean. $1 removes 1.2kg of plastic and debris from the sea with Seabin. 

Seabin, similar to a rubbish bin X pool skimmer, removes floating plastics as small as 2mm, filtering 600,000L of water per day from oil and surface pollutants! This is another huge way we can be supporting our oceans & reefs, while getting yourself some zero waste goodies in the process to start or progress your sustainable journey! 

Seabin Give Back Program Go For Zero

Want more positive earth news?! Head to our Good News Blog to be inspired!

GFZ Team x


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