Preliminary assessment of fish and coral communities on reefs of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia

Temporal Range: From 21-Sep-1993 To 25-Sep-1993

Resource Summary

The Dampier Archipelago, which lies offshore from the Pilbara region, is comprised of 42 islands, islets and rocks. Twenty-five of the islands are included within a marine reserve managed by the Department of Conservation and Land Management. A number of significant marine based industries (petroleum production, iron ore export, solar salt extraction) operate within or adjacent to the Dampier Archipelago. Port development and maintenance has involved the removal of over 28 million m3 of dredge spoil within the Dampier region (Chittleborough, 1983).

During this initial AIMS survey of coral and fish communities within the Dampier Archipelago, 24 sites, chosen to be representative of the diverse range of habitats in the region, were visited. At each site, fish and coral communities were quantitatively sampled. Visual surveys at the sites indicate that many sites had been subjected to significant recent storm damage. Large massive coral colonies were overturned and previously luxuriant Acropora beds were reduced to rubble banks.

The first detailed study of coral communities in the Dampier region was conducted in the early 1980s (Simpson, 1988). Overall, 218 coral species from 57 genera have been recorded (Veron, 1993).

Much less information exists regarding reef fish communities within the Dampier region. The most recent listing of species was compiled by Allen and Swainston (1988). Anecdotal information provided by anglers suggests that populations of popular edible fish have been fished heavily, resulting in reduced abundances.

Fish were surveyed using actual counts on 20 minute timed transects (3 transects per site). Video surveys were carried out on 20 metre transects (5 transects per site). The starting point for fish and video transects were the same, but observers moved in different directions from that point.

Resource Usage:

Use of the AIMS data is for not-for-profit applications only. All other users shall seek permission for use by contacting AIMS. Acknowledgements as prescribed must be clearly set out in the user's formal communications or publications.

Cite this Record
Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). (2009). Preliminary assessment of fish and coral communities on reefs of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia,, accessed 15-Apr-2021.