L. Smith, M. Rees, A. Heyward and J. Colquhoun
Australian Institute of Marine Science
Produced for Environment Australia, 2000
About this report
Ashmore Reef is a large emergent reef system, approximately 227km2 in total area, located on the edge of the continental shelf off the northwest Kimberley coastline. Ashmore Reef falls within the MOU74 Box, an area managed by the Australian Federal Government under the terms of an agreement between the Australian and Indonesian Governments. While many reefs and shoals of the MOU74 Box allow for traditional fishing by Indonesian fishers, Ashmore Reef does not. In 1983, Ashmore Reef was declared a National Nature Reserve. From 1985, Environmental Australia has funded a vessel and crew to provide on-site management at Ashmore Reef during the dry season. Since May 2000, the Australia Customs Service has provided the on-site reserve management services and their vessel the ACV Wauri has been on location year round.
In October 2000, Australian Institute of Marine Science biologists surveyed Ashmore Reef. The objectives were to determine the distribution and abundance of beche-der-mer (holothuria) and the commercial topshell, Trochus niloticus, instigate a monitoring program of these species and make recommendations on their subsequent management. The work was undertaken using the ACV Wauri as a base.