Abrolhos Commonwealth Marine Reserve



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.
About the Abrolhos Commonwealth Marine Reserve
Area 88 126 km2
Depth range <15-6000 m (approx.)
Types of zoning
  • Marine National Park Zone - IUCN Category II-2548 km2
  • Habitat Protection Zone - IUCN Category VI-23 239 km2
  • Multiple Use Zone - IUCN Category VI-56 612 km2
  • Special Purpose Zone - IUCN Category VI-5727 km2

Major conservation values

  • Important foraging areas for the:
    • threatened Australian lesser noddy
    • northernmost breeding colony of the threatened Australian sea lion
    • migratory common noddy, wedge-tailed shearwater, bridled tern, Caspian tern and roseate tern
  • Important migration habitat for the protected humpback whale
  • Second largest canyon on the west coast, the Houtman Canyon
  • Examples of the northernmost ecosystems of the Central Western Province and South-west Shelf Transition (including the Central West Coast meso-scale bioregion)
  • Examples of the deeper ecosystems of the Abrolhos Islands meso-scale bioregion
  • Examples of the shallower, southernmost ecosystems of the Central Western Shelf Province provincial bioregion including the Zuytdorp meso-scale bioregion
  • Examples of the deeper ecosystems of the Central Western Transition provincial bioregion
  • Examples of diversity of seafloor features including: southern most banks and shoals of the North-west region; deep holes and valleys; slope habitats; terrace and shelf environments
  • Six key ecological features:
    • Commonwealth marine environment surrounding the Houtman Abrolhos Islands (high biodiversity, breeding and resting aggregations)
    • demersal slope and associated fish communities of the Central Western Province (communities with high species diversity)
    • meso-scale eddies (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • west-coast canyons (high productivity, feeding aggregations)
    • western rock lobster habitat (species with an important ecological role)
    • Wallaby Saddle - a unique seafloor feature that supports aggregations of baitfish and attracts large pelagic predators including sperm whales