Joseph Bonaparte Gulf Marine Park is shaped by huge tides (up to seven metres), ebbing and flooding across the shallow muddy seafloor. The tidal waves are compounded by monsoonal winds and cyclones, creating a physically dynamic environment with very turbid waters. It is among the shallowest of the Australian Marine Parks, consisting of broad shelf terraces, channels, valleys and extensive banks which make up part of the Shaul Shelf system – the single most extensive system of banks and shoals in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone. These carbonate banks are host to highly productive reef ecosystems supporting dense sponge gardens, soft coral communities and foraging areas for threatened marine turtles and the Australian snubfin dolphin. Sea fans, sea squirts and lace corals embed themselves in the muddy seafloor in the marine park, filtering food particles from the murky waters. Crabs are also abundant here and are sought out by feeding sawfishes.

The park straddles the Western Australia-Northern Territory border and is located 15 kilometres west of Wadeye, NT. It covers 8,597 square kilometres, and has Multiple Use and Special Purpose zones.Parks Australia

Joseph Bonaparte Gulf ranges from less than 5 to 74 metres depth, with an average depth of 22 metres. The majority of the Park (86%) falls within the shallow zone (less than 30m). [View on map]

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What's known about the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf marine park?

The current state of research knowledge (bathymetry, physical and biological observations, seafloor habitat maps) for this region.
Habitat and bathymetry summaries last refreshed July 2024. Habitat observations are refreshed weekly from data providers.


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Habitat Observations

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  • 0 video deployments (0 campaigns)
  • 0 sediment samples (0 analysed) from 0 surveys

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What's in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf marine park?

Underwater imagery from this region, and pressures and activities occurring here.


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Pressures & Activities