shellfish reef

New shellfish reef for South Australia


An exciting partnership between the South Australian Government and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is set to build a second shellfish reef for the state.

With South Australia’s first 20-hectare shellfish reef near Ardrossan – Windara Reef – soon to be completed, a second reef for the state is now in the works.

The new reef will be constructed in Adelaide’s metropolitan waters in the Gulf St Vincent, with the exact location to be guided by science in consultation with the community, including via a YourSAy engagement.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the State Government is investing $1.2 million in the reef to create a flourishing marine environment that creates new habitat and supports fish.

“The new reef will around the size of Adelaide Oval or approximately two hectares, and is expected to be completed by late 2020,” said Minister Speirs. “TNC is the world’s largest conservation organisation and has international and national expertise in reef restoration projects, including rebuilding over 60 reefs globally. I am looking forward to working with them to deliver a habitat that will boost fish productivity, create jobs and improve water quality in the region.”

Director of TNC in Australia, Rich Gilmore said this metropolitan shellfish reef in the Gulf St Vincent will be constructed using a limestone reef base over which hatchery raised Australian Flat Oysters (Ostrea angasi) will be deployed to re-create a living shellfish reef over the next several years.

“Shellfish reefs once characterised the sheltered nearshore areas of South Australia, but from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s reefs suffered – here and in many places around the world – from the impact of wild harvest, oyster dredging and water pollution,” said Mr Gilmore.

“Shellfish reefs are now virtually absent from South Australian waters.

“With Windara Reef nearly completed and a new metropolitan shellfish reef in the works, over time as the oysters grow and develop, these reefs will deliver productive and resilient habitat for marine life.”

The reef will be closely monitored to provide important information about its health and the benefits to the Adelaide coastal environment.

TNC is exploring additional sources of funding to expand the reef. If you’d like to contribute, call TNC Australia on (03) 8346 8600.

This new reef is part of The Nature Conservancy’s National Reef Building Project that aims to rebuild 60 reefs in six years across Australia. If achieved, it will make Australia the world’s first nation to recover a critically endangered marine ecosystem. Other reefs in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and South Australia’s Gulf St Vincent are in advanced stages of reconstruction with others getting underway in Western Australia and Queensland.

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