Argo-Rowley Terrace Commonwealth Marine Reserve

Click on the North-west Commonwealth Marine Reserves Network map or select a reserve
North-west map



Transitional arrangements

Until a management plan comes into effect transitional arrangements apply.

  • Under the transitional arrangements, there are NO CHANGES ON THE WATER for users of new areas added to the Commonwealth marine reserves estate.
  • NOTE: There are no changes to management arrangements in the marine reserves that existed prior to the establishment of the new reserves, that is, the same restrictions on activities will continue to apply even where those reserves have been incorporated into new reserves.
Overview of Argo-Rowley Terrace Commonwealth Marine Reserve
Area 146 099 km2
Depth range 220-6000 m (approx.)
Types of zoning
  • Multiple Use Zone - IUCN Category VI-83 379 km2
  • Marine National Park Zone - IUCN Category II-62 720 km2

Major conservation values

  • Important foraging areas for migratory seabirds and the endangered loggerhead turtle
  • Important area for sharks, which are found in abundance around the Rowley Shoals relative to other areas in the region
  • The reserve provides protection for the communities and habitats of the deeper offshore waters of the region in depth ranges from 220 metres to over 5000 metres
  • The reserve provides protection for many seafloor features including aprons and fans, canyons, continental rise, knolls/abyssal hills and the terrace and continental slope
  • Examples of the communities and seafloor habitats of the Northwest Transition and Timor Province provincial bioregions
  • The reserve provides connectivity between the existing Mermaid Reef Marine National Nature Reserve and reefs of the Western Australian Rowley Shoals Marine Park and the deeper waters of the region
  • Two key ecological features are included in the reserve:
    • the canyons linking the Argo Abyssal Plain with the Scott Plateau (unique seafloor feature with enhanced productivity and feeding aggregations of species)
    • Mermaid Reef and the Commonwealth waters surrounding Rowley Shoals (an area of high biodiversity with enhanced productivity and feeding and breeding aggregations)