TWO men have been penalised more than $17,000 for taking two green turtles and one dugong within the Great Sandy Marine Park.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the men were sentenced earlier this week after being charged with one offence each of taking protected animals under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
"One man was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $7,798.50 for the conservation value of the animals. The other man was fined $500 and was also ordered to pay $7,798.50 for the conservation value of the animals," Ms Enoch said.
After receiving information from concerned members of the public, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers approached the two men, and two other people, on October 7, 2016 and found the dead turtles and dugong in the men's boat.
The men admitted to hunting the animals and claimed they were killed for 'tribal ceremony' reasons.
The men also claimed that permission had been granted to them by local Aboriginal elders.
Investigations by the Queensland Government, assisted by Butchulla traditional owners, revealed the men did not have the right to take the animals from the area.
Ms Enoch said turtles and dugongs are protected species under Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Department of Environment and Science will take strong enforcement action against people who fail to comply with nature conservation laws.
"Depending on the number of protected species unlawfully taken, an individual can face a penalty of up to $365 700 or two years' imprisonment.
"Traditional Owners have hunting rights on their own Country in accordance with Australian Government's Native Title Act 1993 but this does not apply to everyone and in this instance the taking of the animals was unlawful.
"DES respects that dugongs and turtles have important cultural and social values for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people living in coastal areas," Ms Enoch said.
Two other people are due to face court n the near future.