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Reef Check Ningaloo Coast

Ningaloo Reef is Australia's largest fringing coral reef. Tropical and temperate waters meet here to create an amazing diversity of marine species nestled against an arid and rugged coastline. Thousands of marine species call these reefs home. Even whalesharks can't resist visiting these remarkable reef systems, travelling here every year to feed on plankton aggregations from coral spawning.

In 1987, the Ningaloo Marine Park and Muiron Islands Marine Management Areas were established to form a framework for a multi-use park that provides a wide range of activities. The Marine Park stretches 260km, encompassing 5,000 square kilometres of oceans. Sanctuary zones form 34% of the Marine Park. All of the new Reef Check monitoring locations are within sanctuary zones, where no harvesting is permitted.

In 2011, The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area was declared to recognise the outstanding natural beauty and biological diversity of both the marine and terrestrial systems in the region. Ningaloo Reef is home to 300 documented coral species, more than 700 reef fish species, approximately 650 mollusc species and more than 1,000 species of marine algae. 





Reef Check's regional history

The Ningaloo Coast volunteer reef monitoring project was launched in June 2013 to develop a framework for Reef Check on the Ningaloo Coast aiming to support World Heritage values and effective management.  As part of our initial on-ground activities, we trained 9 new awesome and enthusiastic volunteers and established 5 new long-term monitoring sites in the Exmouth area.

We launched 5 shallow snorkel monitoring sites in the Exmouth region. SInce then, we have been working with Cape Conservation Group (CCG) to build a local citizen science reef health monitoring program. In 2016, we returned with support from CCG for further participant training and expansion of monitoring sites around popular tourism location, Oyster Stacks. CCG is an official decentralised Affiliate, helping to actively develop and expand our projects in this region. 

It's just the beginning, join us for the adventure as we grow the program on the West coast!


How does our survey program work?

This flagship project has the support of the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife and several local dive operators. These operators recognise the importance of looking after their reefs, and support the project by providing advice and in-kind support for our teams.

Our enthusiastic volunteers continue to contribute their time and to make the most of this, we're seeking partners to provide the funding we need to formalise and strengthen the project.


Get involved

You can get involved too! Learn, explore, appreciate and protect the unique reefs on your doorstep. 


Project Support

Our 2013 Reef Check Ningaloo Coast project was supported through funding from the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country. In 2016, Cape Conservation Group, with support from BP Pyrenees Operations Team, supported additional surveyor training and surveys, building a foundation for a growing program.

In-kind support:

  • Western Australian Department of Parks & Wildlife
  • Cape Conservation Group
  • Ningaloo Atlas
  • Ningaloo Ecology Cruises
  • Shire of Exmouth
  • Exmouth Diving Centre
  • Ningaloo Reef Dive
  • Oceanwise Expeditions