Report

Protecting Western Australia's Big Blue Backyard

The marine environment from Kalbarri to Eucla is globally significant for its unique and threatened species, underwater features and ecosystems including:

  • Globally high levels of unique marine species (70–90 per cent found nowhere else on Earth) as a result of geological isolation, an unusual major southerly current bringing temperate and tropical species together, and a history free of major environmental disturbance in geological time
  • A series of hotspots for marine life including the Houtman-Abrolhos Islands, the Perth Canyon, Geographe Bay, Cape Mentelle, the Naturaliste Plateau, the Diamantina Fracture Zone, the Albany Canyons and the Recherche Archipelago
  • Critical habitat for a range of significant species including the world's largest animal, the endangered blue whale. Perth Canyon is one of only two blue whale feeding grounds known in Australia. It is a key to the survival and recovery of blue whales
  • One of the world's largest sharks, the threatened white shark; and the world's largest marine turtle, the endangered leatherback turtle
  • A greater southerly range for major tropical coral reefs than anywhere else in the Indian Ocean
  • An unusual collection of fish life and habitats as a result of low nutrients, clear water due to limited river runoff, and waters warmer than are normally found so far south
  • Geologically and ecologically significant subsea features including the deepest point in Australia's oceans, an island under the sea—a large submerged fragment of continental shelf—Australia's highest underwater mountain range, and Australia's largest marine canyon.

Media Contact

Veronica O'Connor

Officer, Communications

202.540.6352

Related Experts

Barry Traill

Director, Outback Australia

Barry Traill joined Pew in 2007 as director of Outback Australia, a joint program of Pew and the Nature Conservancy. He works with partner organizations to obtain protection for large wilderness areas in Australia on land and sea.Before joining Pew, Traill worked for 25 years as a conservation advocate and scientist for Australian state and national organizations. He dealt with private land conservation issues with Trust for Nature, Victoria and on public land conservation issues with the Victoria National Parks Association, Environment Victoria and the Wilderness Society. He was instrumental in establishing nationally coordinated work on the protection of Australian woodlands, including legislation that sharply reduced deforestation rates in Australia. He was a founder of the Northern Australia Environment Alliance and the Invasive Species Council.Traill holds a bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. in terrestrial ecology from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. View Profile