Approximately one million juvenile Australian Flat Oysters are being released onto newly constructed reefs in Oyster Harbour today near Albany on Western Australia’s south coast.
Marking the final stage in the project to return natural shellfish reefs to the Harbour, the release of the tiny native oysters is very satisfying for project manager Alex Hams. “The community has worked hard to get us to this stage,” said Alex. “It’s been a long process to identify the best sites to re-create the reefs, lay down the 1,000 tonnes of limestone bedrock over 1,650m2 of the harbour’s seafloor and now adding the living oysters.”
Named in honour of the native oysters which were once abundant here, Oyster Harbour can now look forward to a future with thriving oyster reefs once more, bringing with them a range of benefits including improved local fish stocks, cleaner water and boosted local economic activity.
“These million young oysters have been grown at the Albany Shellfish Hatchery. They’re settled onto recycled sea shells that were cleaned and prepared with the assistance of local volunteers,” added Alex.
A community forum will be held at the UWA Albany Campus on the evening of Thursday February 6th to give people the opportunity to find out more about the project and ask any questions they might have. Those interested in attending should register their interest by contacting Alex (email@example.com | 0421 456 708) by February 4th.
The project was made possible by the Western Australian Government’s Royalties for Regions Program and the Recreational Fishing Initiative Fund.
The Oyster Harbour Reef project 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 in the world to recover a critically endangered marine ecosystem. Projects in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and South Australia’s Gulf St Vincent have already been completed with others just getting underway near Adelaide, SA; Noosa, Qld; Perth and Mandurah, WA.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.