Marine Management Strategy

The Rottnest Island Marine Management Strategy (MMS) focusses on the creation and enforcement of Marine Reserves. Marine reserves have been progressively established in Western Australia since 1987. They help to conserve marine biodiversity and provide special places for people to enjoy, appreciate and learn about the spectacular marine life of Western Australia.

If you wish to explore our Marine Sanctuary Zones, download the Rottnest Island App for more detailed information of different snorkel and dive sites.

Recreational Fishing

Significant efforts have been taken to allow for ample recreational fishing areas, whether from the shore or a marine vessel. The current sanctuary zone placement leaves 83 percent of the shoreline accessible for boat-based recreational fishing. Excised areas in the sanctuary zones have been allocated to recognise popular shore-based fishing sites and boat-based trolling areas, targeting pelagic species at West End. View the Rottnest Island Fishing Guide.

Marine Sanctuary Zones

There are five marine sanctuary zones surrounding the island located at Parker Point, Kingston Reef, Green Island, Armstrong Bay and West End. The West End is a designated demersal sanctuary zone to protect bottom-dwelling or ‘demersal’ fish species. The sanctuary zones and the demersal sanctuary zone are in place to ensure appropriate use of the Marine Reserve.

Please refer to the sanctuary maps and the current Marine and Boating Guide.

Rottnest Island Nursery

The Rottnest Island Environmental Team manage the Rottnest Island Nursery to propagate plants with island provenance used in the reforestation program and in remediating uncontrolled beach access.

Nursery activities include seed collection, seed treatment, seed storage and propagation of seedling species native to Rottnest Island. A specialised volunteer team was formed to assist with nursery activities, which currently contributes approximately 1800 volunteer hours per year. The nursery currently has capacity to propagate up to 40,000 seedlings (using seeds and cuttings collected from the island) to deliver conservation projects cost-effectively.

Interested in volunteering some time to tree planting around Rottnest Island? Rottnest Society members and friends make a significant contribution to the sustainability of Rottnest Island by planting up to 25,000 trees each year. Find out how you can help.


Securing Our Future

Making an effort to conserve and sustain our environment has never been more important and the small steps we take today will greatly impact the futures of generations to come. Here's how you can help us reduce our ecological footprint.

Minimise your impact!

You can minimise the impact of your visit by considering these conservation tips:

  • Save power - turn off all lights and appliances when you head out for a swim or cycle.
  • Use water sparingly. Remember many communities face water shortages (including Rottnest Island). Conserve water by taking a quick shower and turning off the tap when you brush your teeth.
  • Reduce your waste:
    • Carry a reusable water bottle and say no to plastic.
    • Bring a keep cup for those morning coffees.
    • Recycle - it's vital (here's how)!
    • Keep Australia beautiful - put your rubbish in the bin.
  • Respect our unique natural environment:
    • Do not touch or feed the Quokkas (or other wildlife). Help us conserve and sustain the wildlife for many more generations to enjoy!
    • Do not bring flora or fauna to the island without preapproval.
    • Do not take flora or fauna from the Island (this includes shells and flowers).

Your admission fees

Rottnest Island is an isolated community, totally reliant upon its own resources for provision of essential services. Your admission fees contribute to the conservation of the island and help us work towards long term sustainability as a self-funded tourism destination.


Waste Management

Waste Management on Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island is committed to continually improving waste management and is currently reviewing their waste management strategy to increase resource recovery on the island. 

In 2019 in partnership with the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Waste Authority, the RIA employed a Waste Education and Engagement Officer to support businesses to increase their recycling rates and better manage their waste. The project was a success with demonstrated improvements in staff waste knowledge on the island, as well as a reduction in contamination levels of the business recycling and general waste bins. 

The success of the 2019 project led to the WA Waste Authority supporting a 2020 project, this time for a Waste Education and Engagement Officer to work with visitors on the island to improve recycling rates and reduce waste. The 2020 project will see improvements to signage around bin stations and increased messaging for visitors encouraging waste reduction and good waste practices.
You can help to keep Rottnest beautiful by always using the bins provided and separating your waste correctly.

For more information see our fact sheet How to Recycle on Rottnest Island! (pdf 21KB)
Landfill waste red graphic poster showing items for landfill   Yellow Recycling graphic poster showing items for recycling

 What happens to waste and recycling on Rottnest?

Rottnest Island Authority separates general waste and recycling at the source of the waste. This means that all business, resident and public bins have two types of bin at each station – a red-lid general waste bin and a yellow-lid recycling bin. In 2006, the landfill site on Rottnest Island was decommissioned and a waste transfer station was constructed in its place. The transfer station now provides a site for compacting and storage of all waste and recyclables for transport by barge to the mainland for further processing and resource recovery. 

Trucks leave the waste transfer station daily to collect general waste and recycling from around the island. As part of the island’s EarthCheck accreditation, Rottnest Island is required to keep general waste and recycling streams separate. This separation of waste contributes to higher diversion from landfill rates by helping us to recycle as much of our waste as possible.

At the completion of their circuit, the waste and recycling trucks return to the waste transfer station and empty their contents into large dedicated general waste or recycling compactor bins. Once these compactor bins are full, they are sent off the Island by barge to the mainland. Rottnest Island’s general waste is sent to landfill while recyclables are processed at the South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) resource recovery centre in Canning Vale, where the items are separated into various categories, bundled and sent on to factories (usually overseas) to be turned into new products.

Sustainability Initiatives

Community and Industry Engagement (CIE) Grant

The Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Rottnest Island Authority received a CIE Grant in 2018/2019 from the Waste Authority to hire a Waste Education and Engagement Officer to join the team. The new role supported businesses on the island to increase their recycling rates and better manage their waste. Events and initiatives that came from the project included full business bin audits, bin tagging, beach cleans, and a waste quiz night supported by the businesses on the island.   

A second CIE Grant project is now underway to work with visitors on the island to increase recycling rates, reduce waste and reduce contamination of waste streams. The 2020 project focuses on educational campaigns and waste awareness education. Rottnest Island hopes to see an increase in the use of reusable coffee cups and water bottles on the island. You can help look after the island by reducing your waste, refilling your water bottle and bringing a reusable coffee cup or dining in when you visit Rottnest.

The Last Straw Campaign

In 2019 Rottnest Island became the first major tourism destination in Western Australia to become plastic straw free. Banning plastic straws on Rottnest Island provided an opportunity to eliminate one form of single use plastic waste directly at the source. The new policy came into effect on May 1, 2019 as a collaboration between Rottnest Island Authority and island businesses and has proven to be a success throughout the island.

Eco Tourism Certification

In 2015, Rottnest Island was awarded Advanced ECO Tourism Certification. The ECO Certification program certifies tourism products with a primary focus on nature. The Advanced ECO Tourism Certification was awarded to Rottnest Island Authority because of its commitment to operating with minimal impact on the environment and providing opportunities to learn about the environment with operators who are committed to achieving best practice, using resources wisely, contributing to conserving the environment and helping local communities. It assures travellers that certified products are backed by a strong, well managed commitment to sustainable practices and provides high quality nature-based tourism experiences.

Plastic Free July

Rottnest Island proudly participates annually in Plastic Free July. Previous activities for Plastic Free July have included single use plastic awareness campaigns, interactive talks and business initiatives.

3-Bin System

Waste management at an island destination provides a set of unique challenges. Rottnest Island is currently investigating the feasibility of a 3-Bin organic waste system on the Island and hopes to implement a solution to organic waste.

Container Deposit Scheme

The Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) will be launched in Western Australia on the 2nd June 2020. Rottnest Island will have allocated donation points on the island and is also assessing the viability of establishing a refund point on the island. At the launch of the CDS, Rottnest Island will possess the only offshore donation points in Western Australia. For more information, visit the WA Containers for Change website.

Nursery Garden Horticulture Trial

Rottnest Island’s nursery volunteers are currently trialling growing produce on the island for use by island cafes. Geordie Bay Cafe presently supplies some organic waste for compost and in return receives herbs and green vegetables from the Rottnest Island Nursery.

Green Waste

All green waste collected on the island stays on the island. Rottnest Island uses a closed-loop system to turn green-waste into mulch for use in our reforestation project, for more information, visit the Nursery page. 


Hydrating the Island

Drinking Water Supply

Rottnest Island is licenced to obtain potable freshwater from two sources; a desalination plant based at Longreach Bay and from the Wadjemup Aquifer. After significant investments in our water utility infrastructure, Rottnest now self-generates all the water required to keep the settlement hydrated and the landscapes watered. No freshwater has been taken from the Wadjemup Aquifer since February 2017. 

All water supplied to businesses, visitor accommodation and visitor amenities is obtained from the desalination plant based at Longreach Bay. At the desalination plant, saline (salty) water is pumped from beach bores where it is then filtered and pressurised at 6000kpa to activate reverse osmosis. This process produces clean drinking water for all to use. As visitor numbers grow, it will be increasingly important to be water wise, take short showers and limit the amount of freshwater we use. That way we can leave the freshwater in the Wadjemup aquifer available for our native flora and fauna. 

Waste Water

For much of Rottnest Island’s history, in fact until the early 1970s, untreated wastewater from settlement areas was discharged directly to sea at Bathurst Point. This had a significant impact on the marine environment, with potential to cause harmful algal blooms. As a result, a wastewater treatment plant was established on the island to ensure the protection of the fragile environment. 
All wastewater from accommodation areas is now treated at the Rottnest Island Wastewater Treatment Plant using a membrane bioreactor which produces consistent water quality and low pollution risk. Treated water is then used to maintain golf course and other island landscapes*. This has had fantastic environmental outcomes because the Island no longer needs to use freshwater from the Wadjemup Aquifer to maintain these amenities, leaving the freshwater available for our native flora and fauna.  

*Irrigating with treated waste water is regulated by environmental and public health approvals and strictly managed by the nutrient irrigation and recycled water quality management plans. This ensures regulatory compliance and good environmental and public outcomes. Regular monitoring is undertaken of treated waste water quality, irrigation and turf management practices and receiving environments. 

Powering the Island

Powering the Island

Rottnest Island is committed to increasing renewable energy penetration and minimising environmental impacts including greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy technologies are ever improving, allowing us to obtain energy from natural resources that can be constantly replenished.

Electric power on the Island is generated and supplied through an integrated power generation system including a 600kW wind turbine, 600kW solar farm and a power generation plant with low-load diesel and standard diesel generators.

We’ve developed an app for those interested in seeing real-time energy demands and provisions on the Island.

Download for your iPhone or Android today! 

This app will take you on a journey through the exciting renewable energy scheme that is making Rottnest Island more self-sufficient and sustainable. Use the app to explore the Island, visit the solar farm and wind turbine and discover ways to reduce your ecological footprint. Don't forget to look out for the educational signs dotted across the Island!

Wind Turbine

The Rottnest Island wind energy project has been evolving from as far back as 1979. Construction of several wind turbines on Rottnest Island was proposed as part of a plan to find the most effective and least costly electricity supply to remote locations. Two original wind turbines of different design were erected on Forbes Hill, however difficulties experienced by these turbines led to their removal in the early 1990s. Prior to the installation of the new wind turbine generator in December 2004, Rottnest Island was totally reliant on liquid petroleum fuels for power generation.

Solar Farm

Rottnest Island is moving towards a sustainable future by increasing the amount of renewable energy used to create electricity on the Island, and by better integrating the availability of renewable energy with electricity demand. In 2017, Rottnest Island constructed  a 600kW solar farm, with associated control systems, energy efficiency improvements, and technologies to better manage demand, including the use of excess renewable energy to power the Island’s water desalination plant.

It is anticipated that current renewable energy systems, including the existing wind turbine, solar PV, control system upgrade, demand side management and energy efficiency through water use improvements via the WWTP upgrade, will result in 45% of the Island’s energy (electrical) supply within the next 5 years sourced from renewable energy. Rottnest is one of only a few small islands worldwide to have achieved this benchmark.