Reef of life
The 4100-hectare park, on the western side of Barrow Island, contains Biggada Reef, one of only two significant fringing reefs in the Montebello/Barrow Island reserve system.
From the end of July, large numbers of threatened green turtles begin to congregrate in Turtle Bay, although the start of the breeding season is usually later. During mating time, males cluster around and compete for individual females, which inevitably breed with more than one male. Within a short time, the female lays her first parchment-shelled eggs on the beach, repeating this on a fortnightly basis up to six or even eight times in a season. Turtle Bay is also sometimes used by hawksbill and flatback turtles.
The entire Barrow Island Marine Park is a sanctuary zone, giving the park the highest percentage of ‘no take areas’ of any marine park in Western Australia. Sanctuary zones are ‘look but don’t take’ areas managed for nature conservation and low-impact recreation and tourism. They are important refuge areas for marine life, including fish, and may help to replenish adjacent areas.