The Association of Bayside Municipalities comprises the councils of Port Phillip Bay. Founded in 1974, we are the voice of local government for Port Phillip Bay.

Our shared purpose is the protection and management of the natural, cultural, social and economic values of Port Phillip Bay.  Through our leadership, advocacy knowledge sharing and partnerships we aim to respect the Traditional Owner aspirations for the land and sea Country, and uphold the community’s vision and values for the Bay’s marine and coastal environment.

The ABM acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of Port Phillip Bay - the Bunurong and Wadawurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation.  We pay respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.  We value their knowledge and deep connection to the Bay, its waters, beaches, plants and animals.

With more than 130 beaches and 50 million plus visitors annually, Port Phillip Bay is treasured for its coastline, beaches, coastal parks and unique flora and fauna.  These environmental values are what make the Bay a popular choice for walking, swimming and surfing, snorkelling and diving, fishing and boating, jet skiing, walking the dog, camping and caravanning and more.

The Bay itself comprises mudflats, mangroves and saltmarshes, seagrass beds and tidal flats, basalt rocky reefs formed from volcanic lava flows, sponge gardens, seagrass beds and more. In turn, these habitats ensure a diversity of marine animals and plants can thrive, many of which are only found in Port Phillip Bay.


The ABM is committed to:

Traditional Owners

Working with Traditional Owners as the rightsholders and custodians of Port Phillip Bay - respecting culture, protecting and managing indigenous cultural heritage.

Environmental protection

Protection, effective management and enhancement of bay beaches, and marine environment, including conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Community values

Reflecting the community’s values for Port Phillip Bay.  Advocating for safe, clean and accessible beaches; appropriate and sustainable coastal planning, development and land use; planning and adapting to climate change impacts.


Working in close partnership with other Port Phillip Bay stakeholders.

Good governance

Advocating for effective governance arrangements for the Bay.

ABM Member Councils:

Key facts about Port Phillip Bay


of coastline



1,934 km2

Port Phillip Bay area


billion cubic metres volume

13 m

average depth

ranging from 8-24m | 100m at heads

4.5 million

catchment population

including Melbourne and Geelong

50 million

annual visitors


coastal managers in Port Phillip Bay

(of the 60 in Victoria)

value of recreational fishing to Victorian economy
contribution to the Victorian economy from tourism and associated businesses

RAMSAR wetlands

Port Phillip Bay is home to two RAMSAR listed wetlands (wetlands of international importance).

Edithvale-Seaford wetland

Recognised as the last remaining example of the Carrum Carrum Swamp supporting Australasian Bittern populations (a bird of state significance and threatened in Victoria). The wetland also supports more than 1% (2,000 birds) of the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper population that migrate along the East Asian-Australian flyway.

Photo: Edithvale-Seaford wetlands (Andrew Owens).

Photo by Pat Whelen (Unsplash)
Port Phillip Bay (western shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula

This network of wetlands is home to rare and endangered flora and flora including 40 species listed under the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement, 36 species under the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement and 49 species under the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.

Photo: Point Lonsdale (Pat Whelen).

Photo: Point Lonsdale (Pat Whelen).

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