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 currently reviewing their waste management strategy in order to increase resource recovery on the Island. 

The island was one of the first places to implement public place recycling and is now leading the way in guiding businesses to improve their waste management practices. In partnership with the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Waste Authority, the RIA has employed a Waste Education and Engagement Officer to support businesses to increase their recycling rates and better manage their waste. 

What happens to waste and recycling on Rottnest?

How to Recycle on Rottnest Island! (pdf 21KB)

Rottnest Island Authority separates general waste and recycling at the source of the waste. This means that all businesses, residents and public bins have two types of bin at each station – a red-lid general waste bin and a yellow-lid recycling bin. 

Two trucks leave the waste transfer station daily to collect general waste and recycling separately. A myth has been circulating that general-waste and recycling on Rottnest Island go into the same truck, this is not true. As part of our EarthCheck accreditation, we must keep general waste and recycling streams separate. 

Once the truck is full, it returns to the Waste Transfer Station and empties its contents into a large compactor bin. Again, general-waste and recycling are kept separate. Once these compactor bins are full, they are sent off the Island by barge to the mainland where general waste is sent to landfill and recyclables are processed at the South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) resource recovery centre in Canning Vale, where the items are separated, bundled and sent on to factories (usually overseas) to be turned into new products.

Please help us to keep Rottnest beautiful by using the bins provided and remember “Recycle it’s Vital”.

In 2006, the unlined landfill site on Rottnest Island was decommissioned and a waste transfer station was constructed in its place. The transfer station 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. 

Sustainability Initiatives

Community and Industry Engagement (CIE) Grant

In partnership, the Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce and the Rottnest Island Authority received a CIE grant from the Waste Authority to hire a Waste Engagement and Education Officer to join our team. This new role is supporting businesses on the island to increase their recycling rates and better manage their waste. A number of events and initiatives have been conducted including a full business Bin Audit, Bin Tagging and a Waste Quiz night supported by the businesses. 

Compactor Bins

The Rottnest Island Authority is installing six new compactor bins supplied by Solar Bins Australia. These bins use solar energy to compact up to seven times more rubbish saving time and labour. The bins are also smart and will send alerts when and where they need emptying. This cuts down on emissions and helps the planet. 

Green Waste

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

Glass Recycling

We collect glass from businesses separately on the island and use a glass crusher to enable us to reuse glass on the island. Again adopting a closed-loop model, we are working towards our sustainability goals and preserving the Island’s unique and beautiful environment. The Glass Crusher improves our waste management by allowing us to reuse glass in the Island’s operations including pipe bedding, capping landfill and walk trails floor work. The project was made possible through a co-funding partnership between the Rottnest Island Authority, the Australian Food and Grocery Council, The Australian Packaging Covenant and the Waste Authority through the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account.

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.