The Houtman Abrolhos Islands are an archipelago of 122 islands off the mid-west coast of Western Australia. There are three groups, all surrounded by coral reefs:
The Abrolhos extend more than 100 km from north to south. The Geelvink Channel, which separates the Abrolhos from the mainland, is between 60 and 80 km wide.
An A Class Reserve since 1929, the Houtman Abrolhos Nature Reserve is vested with the Minister for Fisheries, for the purposes of: ‘Conservation of flora and fauna, tourism, and for purposes associated with the fishing and aquaculture industries.
All of the Abrolhos below the high water mark, including the adjoining State territorial waters, was declared a Fish Habitat Protection Area (FHPA) in 1999 for the:
conservation and protection of fish, fish breeding areas, fish fossils or the aquatic eco-system;
culture and propagation of fish and experimental purposes related to that culture and propagation; or
management of fish and activities relating to the appreciation or observation of fish.
The Abrolhos is home to a diverse and unique range of plants and animals, both on land and in the water. Activities at the Abrolhos include:
There are important historical shipwrecks in Abrolhos waters dating back to the doomed Batavia 1629, with the remnants of survivors’ camps on the islands themselves.
Exploring the Houtman Abrolhos Islands provides further background information.