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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Abrolhos Islands

​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:

  • Wallabi-North Island Group;
  • Easter Group; and
  • Pelsaert (or Southern) Group.

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.

In accordance with a State Government initiative, the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park​ was created in July 2019. The national park is vested with the Conservation and Parks Commission and managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA). Further information on the national park planning process can be found on the DBCA website.

The remaining terrestrial area, currently occupied by commercial fishers and aquaculture operators, is an A Class Reserve vested in the Minister for Fisheries for the purpose of “conservation of flora and fauna, tourism and for purposes associated with the fishing and aquaculture industries”.

The state waters surrounding the Abrolhos Islands has special status as a gazetted fish habitat protection area (FHPA) 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 Reserve and the FHPA are managed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. 

Draft management plans for the Abrolhos Reserve and FHPA were released for a six week public comment period, between 21 February and 3 April 2022. The draft plans and other associated planning material are available to view here​

All submissions are currently being analysed and the plans will be amended as required. The final management plans will be approved by the Minister for Fisheries and are expected to be released in mid-2022. 

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:

  • commercial fisheries
  • aquaculture operations
  • recreational finfish fisheries
  • research
  • diving and associated marine-based activities; and
  • tourism. 

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.​


Last modified: 4/08/2022 2:11 PM

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