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Marine reserve or marine caravan park? Assessment of recreational boating at Rottnest Island

Beckley, L.E. and Smallwood, C.B. (2004) Marine reserve or marine caravan park? Assessment of recreational boating at Rottnest Island. In: Australian Marine Science Association Conference, 6 - 9 July, Hobart, Tasmania.


Western Australia has the highest recreational boat ownership per capita in Australia and, in Perth, there are more than 44 000 registered boats. Rottnest Island reserve, located 18 km offshore of Perth, is a favoured boating destination. In the embayments of the reserve, there are eight designated mooring areas with 35 rental moorings and 864 moorings which are licensed to private individuals on a long-term basis. Despite high annual fees, demand for moorings is high and, currently, there are more than 500 boat-owners on a waiting list. Nevertheless, prior to our survey of boating activity in reserve waters, conducted from January to December 2003, the Rottnest Island Authority had little information on occupancy of moorings, types of vessels visiting the reserve and what activities the passengers engage in. The majority of vessels were found to visit the reserve in summer and significantly higher numbers of all vessel types were recorded on weekends. One hundred percent occupancy was rarely attained, and then, only in some mooring areas on a few long weekends. Outside of mooring areas, SCUBA diving was the most popular marine recreational activity conducted from boats during the summer months and, during winter, surfing was the most frequently recorded activity. Fishing and crayfishing were also conducted at numerous sites around the island. Management concerns include equity of access to moorings, impacts of boating, waste management, provision of shore-based facilities, user-conflicts and spill-over of excess boats to other island reserves.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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