The marine ecosystems of the Fitzroy Region include coral reefs, seagrass meadows, coastal wetlands, estuaries and islands. There are 125 islands in the region, including Curtis, Facing and Townshend islands, the Keppel Island Group and the Capricorn-Bunker group of islands offshore. Some of the species found on these islands are listed as threatened or vulnerable, and have significant cultural values (see table below). The area is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which was internationally recognised for its outstanding natural values in 1981.
Important tourism industries use the Keppel and Capricorn-Bunker islands and reefs, and recreational beach activities occur along the coast. Recreational and commercial fisheries target reef fish, mud crabs, barramundi and mangrove jack. Finfish are also grown in coastal aquaculture ventures. The military’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area has been managed by the Department of Defence since 1965.
Click on the tabs above to explore the Marine Ecosystems of the Fitzroy Region.
Follow this link to obtain monitoring results for the health of Port Curtis.
Click on the map at right to view the location of coral reefs and seagrass beds off the Central Queensland coast.
Relative Risk Results for Marine Areas within the Fitzroy Region
|Relative risk results
|Likely rivers of influence
|Northumberland Island group (northern inshore areas)
|Contains two main island groups, fringing coral reefs and shoals.
|Island group contains fringing coral reefs.
|Limited coral reefs and seagrass beds, is naturally highly turbid due to large tidal ranges and is relatively shallow.
|Moderate to Low
|Extensive intertidal seagrass beds, Ramsar wetland, and is protected by the Shoalwater Bay Dugong Protection Area.
|Very High in the innermost areas, with a gradient to Very Low risk in the outer part of the bay. However, the water quality conditions are unlikely to be driven by anthropogenic influences.
|Keppel Island Group
|Fringing (inshore) coral reefs, intertidal seagrass beds and island habitats.
Water Park (predominantly constrained to North Keppels)
Calliope (predominantly constrained to southern-outer areas)
|Keppel Bay (coastal areas)
|Balaclava Island listed on Register of National Estate, naturally high turbidity with limited coral reefs and seagrass beds but contains important coastal wetlands.
|Very High in the coastal areas, shifting to High and then Moderate in the outer limits of the bay.
|Fringing coral reefs on south-eastern coast, surveyed seagrass at southern end, wetland areas.
|Very High and High.
Fitzroy (predominantly northern areas only)
|Mid-shelf coral reefs and deep water modelled seagrass.
|Low for reefs located closest to the coast including Rock Cod Shoal, Irving Reef, Polmaise Reef and Mast Head Island and reefs. Very Low elsewhere.
Potentially Burnett River in flood events eg. 2010-11
|Rodds Bay Dugong Protection Area (crosses the region’s southern boundary)
|Extensive intertidal seagrass beds and fringing coral reefs on the eastern coast of Facing Island.
|This area is influenced by Gladstone Harbour and Calliope and Boyne river mouths.
Burnett (outside of this region)