The Abrolhos Islands has become a popular destination for Western Australia’s boating community, with a large number of craft expected to visit over Easter and throughout April.
Midwest Regional Manager for the Department of Fisheries, Ron Shepherd said the two long weekends and the school holidays in April were likely to attract many visitors to soak up the experience the island group offers
“We are keen to ensure visitors have a safe time at the Abrolhos and that they plan properly for their time there,” Mr Shepherd said.
“There is a requirement for the Master of vessels that are travelling to the Abrolhos Fish Habitat Protection Area to notify the Department of Fisheries of their visit, and this can be easily done through the department’s website at www.fish.wa.gov.au.
“The website provides important information for visitors, and the notification helps our officers to support the management and safety of visitors.”
Shepherd said it should be everyone’s commitment to protect the pristine environment.
“We urge owners to please clean their vessel’s hull before heading to the Abrolhos and this is particularly important for boats that are normally penned in the Batavia Marina, at Geraldton,” he said.
“Fouling on hulls has the potential to introduce exotic marine pests, which could have significant adverse impacts on the unique coral environment of the Abrolhos.
“To protect the Abrolhos, it is important that all visitors support biosecurity measures.”
Mr Shepherd said a number of public moorings were available at the Abrolhos Islands and the locations for those were noted on the department’s website.
“Those moorings may be in high demand during April and when public moorings are not available, the department requests that boat owners be careful in anchoring to ensure they do not damage coral habitats, he said.
“Also, visitors should look after the environment by taking their rubbish home and by not camping on unoccupied islands or lighting fires.
“Buildings and jetties on occupied islands are private property. Visitors require the permission of the property owners to enter, or to tie up to their jetties.
“We advise boat owners, and all visitors, to become familiar with WA’s recreational fishing rules before venturing to the Abrolhos, including the rules specific to the islands.”
A Silver Chain Clinic is located on Big Rat Island, Easter Group and is available to assist in any medical emergencies that visitors may encounter. The clinic can be contacted on 0427 422 665, or through Marine Radio Channel 16.