Respecting the environment

Preserve the island’s beauty

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island is a Class A Reserve and as such, all flora, fauna, and landforms are protected. When you spend time on in its marine reserves, interacting with wildlife and the fragile coastline ecosystems, you must follow certain rules to ensure you don’t have a negative impact.

A protected marine environment

As a boating visitor, you will spend most of your trip interacting with the marine environment of Wadjemup. And even though you may feel slightly separate from the island, the waters surrounding it are just as protected as the land.

The island’s waters are filled with rare and beautiful marine life, including dolphins, long-nosed fur seals, migratory whales, over 400 types of fish, and several varieties of seagrass and coral. Regulations and guidelines exist to help conserve this unique environment and ensure that the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.



  • A protected marine environment

    As a boating visitor, you will spend most of your trip interacting with the marine environment of Wadjemup. And even though you may feel slightly separate from the island, the waters surrounding it are just as protected as the land.

    The island’s waters are filled with rare and beautiful marine life, including dolphins, long-nosed fur seals, migratory whales, over 400 types of fish, and several varieties of seagrass and coral. Regulations and guidelines exist to help conserve this unique environment and ensure that the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

  • Sanctuary zones

    Five marine sanctuary zones have been established to help conserve the pristine marine environments of the island. Fishing and collecting marine flora and fauna is restricted in these areas, but the rules differ for each area:


    West End Demersal sanctuary zone
    Anglers are allowed to fish from the shore with a rod, line, or hand-held line, along the platform known as Radar Reef. Trolling from vessels is permitted for targeting pelagic species of fish. All other methods are prohibited.

    Kingston Reef sanctuary zone
    Taking marine flora or fauna by any means is prohibited.

    Armstrong Bay sanctuary zone
    Fishing from the shore is allowed; you can use a rod, line, or hand-held line in the areas that are sign posted. All other methods are prohibited.

    Green Island sanctuary zone
    Any fishing or taking of marine flora or fauna is not permitted.

    Parker Point sanctuary zone
    Fishing and removing marine flora or fauna is prohibited.


    Refer to Marine Maps & Resources for locations.

    For more information about the sanctuary zone boundaries and permissible activities, please contact the Department of Fisheries

  • Environmental protection guidelines

    In order to leave the island just as untouched as when you arrived, you can’t leave anything behind or interact with the environment in a harmful way.

  • Low-impact interactions

    Reef care
    Curiosity about the beautiful underwater world surrounding your boat is natural. Feel free to hover above it in your snorkel gear, but do not touch anything. Make sure you don’t walk on the reef, as this can damage the fragile environment and the marine species that inhabit these areas. And to avoid damaging the reef when anchoring, it is only permitted in sandy areas and not in areas of seagrass or reef.

    Coastal hazards
    It is not just the underwater environment that needs protection, as the coastline of the island is also extremely fragile.

    Rules to follow on the coast:
           -    Beware of unstable rock slopes, cliffs, and overhangs.
           -    Stay clear of limestone cliff edges, caves, and overhanging rocks, as these areas can be unstable and may collapse.
           -    Remain on designated tracks when accessing coastal areas to avoid damaging dune vegetation and increasing the risk of erosion. Island walking trails are detailed on rottnestisland.com.

  • Fishing

    As a stop on the warm Leeuwin Current’s journey south, Rottnest Island’s waters are home to plenty of flourishing sea life. A varied bounty awaits any keen angler, but there are some areas which must be avoided.

    Fishing and/or collecting of flora and fauna is restricted in the five marine sanctuary zones of the island (see above) and spear fishing is prohibited within the specified boundaries of the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve. To find out where the sanctuaries are, head to our marine maps.

  • Waste management

    Visitors to Rottnest Island value the clear water and unique marine environment. However, waste from boats, whether it's from the on-board toilet or the bin, can easily make the water dirty and contaminated — creating a public health risk as well as a danger to the environment. So, to keep the waters clean, we have strategies in place to manage waste.

    Liquid waste
    All the waters within the Rottnest Island Marine Reserve are protected. Which means no liquid waste can be discharged anywhere in these waters, including waste from marine sanitation devices (MSDs). Ensure you store your liquid waste appropriately and discharge at a suitable mainland facility or outside the marine reserve.

    Rubbish
    Just like anywhere else in Western Australia, littering is prohibited. If possible, help to reduce carbon emissions and carry your own waste and recycling off the island. All waste that is placed in bins on the island is picked up by a truck, compacted, and shipped off the island by barge. It is then processed in the same manner as mainland waste.

    Also, there are a number of fishing line bins located on the island jetties. Please use these bins to dispose of any fishing line and tackle.