Our initial views on some of the proposed South Coast Marine Parks sanctuary zones

Below is our preliminary assessment of some of the sanctuary zones that have the potential to impact upon fishing experiences based on what we have heard so far from South Coast fishers.

Many of these locations will be included in Recfishwest’s final submission to DBCA, but in the meantime, have a look and see if they reflect your views of what and where is important to you.

If there is a zone that impacts your fishing that is not captured here, we encourage you to take a similar approach when making your submission in describing what’s important to you and making an alternative recommendation. Please contact us also if you feel we have missed something that is important to you and/or other fishers.

We will be continuing information over the coming months to make sure our submission is as comprehensive as possible and your input is important to us.

Click on any of the drop-downs below to see our views!


Cape Le Grand (Thistle Cove, Hellfire Bay)

One of the most popular tourism spots near Esperance, 2WD accessible, popular campgrounds, popular for bread-and-butter species, rock fishing safety infrastructure and relatively protected from strong summer easterlies.

Potential recommendation: Apply a 200m set back from shore across the zone to allow beach-based fishing.

Twilight Cove

Highly valued wilderness fishing location, predominantly beach fishing, popular for mulloway, gummy shark, KG whiting, salmon. Popular for multi-day fishing trips from Esperance, and popular with goldfields and Nullarbor residents. DBCA website says this is a spectacular fishing spot and lists fishing as the only activity.

Potential recommendation: Apply a 200m set back from shore across along the beach to allow beach-based fishing (no objection to sanctuary zone along the cliffs to the west).

Warrenup and Barkers Inlet Beach

Highly popular beaches for fishing west of Esperance. Warrenup is protected from easterly winds by the slight westerly facing beach and headland to the east. Beach at Barkers Inlet near the access point is a protected bay with camp/day use areas. Popular for salmon, skippy, gummy sharks.

Potential recommendation: Apply a 200m set back from shore across the zone to allow beach-based fishing.

Poison Creek

Very popular surf-fishing beach. Eastern end of beach is highly valued due to increasing features (holes and gutters) and protection from easterly winds from Cape Pasley. Great salmon and mulloway fishing.

Potential recommendation: Apply a 200m setback from shore on the western end of this sanctuary zone to allow beach fishing.

Point Culver

Similar values to Twilight Cove. Popular wilderness fishing location for multi-day fishing trips from Esperance and Goldfields/Nullarbor residents. Area from the Bilbunya dunes up to the Baxter Cliffs is the most popular part of the beach due to progressively greater beach structure (holes and gutters) eastward to the cliffs, as well as the awesome scenery when fishing near the cliff face. Renowned fishing spot, particularly for mulloway.

Potential recommendation: Apply a 200m set back from shore across the zone to allow beach-based fishing.

Dunn Rocks to Hammerhead (Duke of Orleans)

Accessible beaches and rocks throughout this zone. Close proximity to popular caravan park (Orleans Bay Caravan Park) and campgrounds (Cape Le Grand). Dunns is popular for beach fishing, being a short distance from Esperance. Beaches around Hammerhead are popular with people staying at the Duke for bread-and-butter species.

Potential recommendation: Apply a 200m set back from shore across the zone to allow beach-based fishing.


Popular surf fishing beach. 4WD access and camping. Popular for gummy shark, mulloway, salmon.

Potential recommendation:  Access to western end of sanctuary zone is limited, therefore 200m setback from shore only needed in eastern portion to allow beach-based fishing.

Israelite Bay (Back Beach)

Most popular fishing beach at Israelite Bay. Campgrounds at Israelite Bay, with fishing history (shacks). Well regarded as wilderness fishing experience with quality fishing for species such as trophy mulloway.

Potential recommendation: 200m setback from shore across this zone to allow for beach-fishing.


Right on the doorstep of Eucla – reasonable to expect that locals should be able to fish the beach in front of town. Plenty of other areas that are suitable for sanctuary zoning which are not directly in front of a community.

Potential Recommendation: Shift this zone to the west.

Trigalow/Tooregullup (in front of Gordon Inlet)

Popular with Bremer Bay locals and visiting fishers. Sanctuary zone is currently located directly in front of the camp spots and track down to the beach. Popular beach for salmon fishing (as evidenced by commercial shacks to the south).

Potential recommendation: 200m set back from shore across this zone to allow for beach-based fishing.

Lake Shaster

Popular with Esperance and Hopetoun locals, farming community around Munglinup. Well-regarded as a good beach for mulloway fishing.

Potential recommendation: 200m set back from shore across this zone for land-based fishing.


Doubtful Islands

Popular with Bremer Bay locals and visiting fishers. Accessible via small boats launched around Point Hood (e.g. Trigalow and House Beach). Also accessed by larger boats launching in Bremer Bay. Campgrounds around Point Hood make this a popular spot during holiday periods. Natural attraction for fishing given the structure and protection of the islands. One of the most highly-utilised areas in Recfishwest’s fishing survey, arguably the most important boat-based spot in the Mamang Maambakoort Marine Park.

Potential recommendation: Remove Point Hood sanctuary zone and reduce the Doubtful Islands sanctuary zone.

Recherche Archipelago off Esperance (Figure of Eight, Woody Island group, inshore Cape le Grand islands)

Accessible distance from boat launching spots in Esperance and Cape Le Grand. Some of the highest boat-based fishing use is in the archipelago off Esperance and inshore Cape Le Grand. Figure of Eight is one of only a handful of Islands accessible when launching in Esperance and heading west. Figure of Eight and Termination Island are also important for charter fishing. Inshore islands around Cape Le Grand are relatively protected by the outer archipelago and provide great inshore fishing opportunities for small boats (which can launch in the corner of Cape Le Grand Beach). Existing moorings in New Island Bay. Woody Island, Thomas and Gunton are popular with tourists.

Potential recommendation: Remove the northern half of the Figure of Eight sanctuary zone to allow fishing from some of this island. Reduce the size of the zone around Woody Island, Thomas Island and Gunton Island to provide greater fishing access. A 200m set-back on the northern side of Woody Island to allow fishing from shore near the resort and from protected bays used as anchorages.

Duke of Orleans offshore

Current proposals have two sanctuary zones on the doorstep of a popular caravan park (Orleans Bay Caravan Park) and the only boat ramp between Esperance and the South Australian border. Very popular with Esperance locals (particularly during holiday periods), visiting fishers from the Goldfields, and inter/intra-state tourists. Small boats fish out from Little Wharton, Wharton Beach and Victoria Harbour (easily accessible via the boat ramp or beach launching). Inshore Islands (such as Station Island and the Mart Island Group) are highly valued. There is plenty of space to have sanctuary zones without being so close to a known fishing hotspot such as the Duke.

Potential recommendation: Shifting the Victoria Harbour – Hammerhead zone further offshore and westward and move the Membinup offshore zone eastward.

Termination Island

The most accessible area for deeper-water fishing given its proximity to Esperance. Highly valued when the weather conditions are suitable. Valuable for charter fishing. Termination Island provides protection when the weather turns, which is highly important when fishing this far offshore. Humilaria Reef on the landward side of the island is highly valued for reef fishing.

Potential recommendation: Allowing fishing on the northern side of this zone to allow fishing from anchorage and avoid known good fishing spots.

Masons Bay offshore

One of only few offshore islands in the Hopetoun region. Accessible from both Hopetoun boat ramp as well as Starvation Bay. The sanctuary zone also covers inshore ground which is valued for tinny fishing, with Mason’s Bay having a suitable beach launch for tinnies. Current sanctuary zone has no balance to allow fishing around these islands.

Potential recommendation: Reduce this zone to allow access to fishing spots around West Island and Black Rock.