Stephen Patterson MP, Minister David Speirs & TNC's Anita Nedosyko
Glenelg reef announcement: Stephen Patterson MP, Minister David Speirs & TNC's Anita Nedosyko © Simon Reeves/TNC

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Construction complete on new Glenelg shellfish reef

Construction of a new shellfish reef one kilometre off Glenelg Beach has been completed with the site expected to boost local tourism, grow fish stocks and improve water quality.

The new reef, which is the size of Adelaide Oval, was constructed using an estimated two million juvenile native flat oysters (Ostrea angasi), pre-seeded onto recycled oyster shells which have been placed across a limestone bed.

The shellfish reef has been built by the Nature Conservancy with $1.2 million funding from the Marshall Liberal Government and support from the City of Holdfast Bay.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said shellfish reefs were once common in the sheltered nearshore areas of South Australia however overfishing, dredging, water pollution and disease have almost wiped them out.

“Shellfish reef habitats are important to the marine environment for fish breeding and water quality, but they can also provide new recreational and economic opportunities to the state,” Minister Speirs said.

“That’s why the Marshall Liberal Government committed $1.2 million to rebuild this metropolitan shellfish reef off an iconic South Australian beach at Glenelg.

“We are building shellfish reefs off Adelaide’s metropolitan coast to benefit the community, natural environment and local economy.”

Minister for Trade and Investment and Member for Morphett, Stephen Patterson, said the new Glenelg Shellfish Reef is a great result for the local community.

“The addition of the shellfish reef which consists of 14 reef patches over an area the size of Adelaide Oval will create another attraction along our spectacular Glenelg coastline,” Minister Patterson said.

“The new $1.2 million shellfish reef at Glenelg will improve environmental outcomes, increase recreational opportunities and provide a boost to the local economy.”

Marine Restoration Coordinator at The Nature Conservancy Anita Nedosyko said South Australian company, Maritime Constructions, started building the reef earlier this month.

“The shellfish reef was created laying limestone boulders the size of footballs onto the seafloor using a 2000 tonne barge and an excavator,” Ms Nedosyko said.

“Scuba divers then spread the Australian flat oysters, which have been raised in the South Australian Research and Development Institute hatchery at West Beach.

“The recreated reef at Glenelg is expected to attract marine life almost immediately and will take seven to 10 years to reach maturity.”

To allow the reef and marine life to develop, fishing will be temporarily prohibited around the site for an initial 12-month period with the potential for that to be extended.

Minister Speirs said fishing management arrangements were also put in place for the Windara Reef off Yorke Peninsula.

“It’s essential the new reef is protected to allow the limestone that was deployed and the marine life that will utilise the reef to settle and begin to develop for an extended period, to maximise the ecological value of the reef,” Minister Speirs said.

The coordinates of the proposed closure area of the five-hectare Glenelg Shellfish Reef site are:

  • 34°58.314 S, 138°29.787 E
  • 34°58.314 S, 138°29.955 E
  • 34°58.422 S, 138°29.787 E
  • 34°58.422 S, 138°29.955 E

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.