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Respecting the Environment

How to ensure you and your boat safely interact with the unique Rottnest Island ecosystem.

Help look after the island’s beauty

Wadjemup is a Class A Reserve, which means that all plants, animals, and land, in and around the island are protected. This is particularly important when you are out on the water, and there are particular rules you need to follow to ensure you and your boat interact safely with the sea life and the fragile coastline ecosystems.

Fishing around Rottnest Island

Thanks to the warm Leeuwin Current that passes along Wadjemup’s western coast, there’s a variety of flourishing sea life to be found. But this does not mean they are available for fishing.

Five Marine Sanctuary Zones have been established around the island to help conserve the pristine environment above and below the waves.

Here is what you can and cannot do in each one.

Fishing is completely prohibited in some sanctuary zones
Any fishing, spear-fishing, or collecting of marine plant life is strictly prohibited unless otherwise noted. When boating, leaving your location as you found it helps to maintain the health of the surrounding waters.

West End Demersal sanctuary zone

You 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 also allowed, but only if you are targeting pelagic fish. All other methods are prohibited.

Kingston Reef sanctuary zone

All fishing, and taking of marine flora or fauna of any type, 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 signposted. All other methods are prohibited.

Green Island sanctuary zone

All fishing, and taking of marine flora or fauna of any type, is prohibited.

Parker Point sanctuary zone

All fishing, and taking of marine flora or fauna of any type, is prohibited.

You can find more information on the marine maps and resources page, or by contacting the Department of Fisheries directly.

Aerial shot of Rottnest Island
Rottnest Island Beaches

Low-impact interactions

It doesn’t take much to leave the environment as you found it. Here are some tips to ensure every interaction is a safe one.

Rules to follow on the water

It is natural to be curious about the beautiful underwater world surrounding your boat. But please be aware that the coral reef that surrounds Wadjemup is fragile. So while you are free to hover over the reef and swim around it in your snorkel gear, please do not touch anything.

X Do not walk on or touch the reef

X Do not anchor on or near the reef

X Do not anchor in seagrass

✔ Only anchor in sandy areas


Rules to follow on the coast

It is not just the underwater environment that needs protection. The island’s coastline is also extremely fragile — which means there are a few coastal hazards to watch out for.

X Stay away from unstable rock slopes, cliffs, and overhangs

X Don’t go near limestone cliff edges, caves, and overhanging rocks, as these areas can be unstable and may collapse

✔ Only walk on designated tracks around coastal areas to avoid damaging dune vegetation and increasing the risk of erosion. Island walking trails are detailed on

Waste management

Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Wadjemup is home to a unique marine environment. This means that any waste from boats, whether it is from the onboard toilet or the bin, contaminates the water, creating a public health risk and a danger to the environment.

RIA has strategies in place to manage waste and keep Rottnest's waters clean.

  • Liquid waste. The Rottnest Island Marine Reserve is a protected area, which means absolutely no liquid waste can be discharged anywhere within these waters. This includes waste from marine sanitation devices (MSDs). Instead, store your liquid waste safely and appropriately, and discharge it at a suitable mainland facility or outside the marine reserve.
  • Rubbish. Just like anywhere else in Western Australia, littering is prohibited. All waste placed in bins on the island gets picked up by a truck, compacted, and shipped off Wadjemup by barge. This is then processed the same way as mainland waste. So, if possible, help reduce carbon emissions and carry your waste and recycling off the island.
  • Fishing lines and tackle. There are a number of fishing line bins located on each of the island jetties. Please use these bins to dispose of any fishing line and tackle.