An important first milestone has been reached in the construction of South Australia’s biggest ever reef reconstruction project – a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the South Australian and Australian Governments, RecFish SA and the Yorke Peninsula Council. Port Adelaide based Maritime Constructions has been awarded a $550,000 contract by the SA Government to build the first four hectare stage of the reef (consisting of limestone rubble) and construct 60 concrete ‘reef balls’.
Construction of the trial four-hectare shellfish reef will begin this month using a mixture of materials including locally sourced limestone from the Yorke Peninsula and custom made concrete reef structures.
In further stages of the project, native shellfish such as Angasi oysters, will be added to the reef by the hundreds of thousands by The Nature Conservancy.
The reef – located south of Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula – will attract marine life and, over time, is expected to improve fish stocks, enhance recreational fishing opportunities, increase water quality and combat coastal erosion.
“Each year more than 277,000 men, women and children take part in recreational fishing in South Australia – it’s a much-loved pastime, an important tourism drawcard and a vital economic contributor to South Australia’s regions,” said South Australian Minister for Fisheries and Tourism, Leon Bignell. “It’s fantastic to see the reef project at Rogues Point awarded to a South Australian company – one which specialises in marine infrastructure and employs highly skilled local workers to get the job done. We are also pleased that the Australian Government awarded an extra $990,000 to The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Yorke Peninsula Council and State Government to expand the build of the reef by 20 hectares. Once completed this will be the largest shellfish reef restoration project in Australia. We’ve received a lot of feedback from the Yorke Peninsula community and recreational fishers who are excited by this project and are keen to see it completed.”
Maritime Construction Chief Executive Officer, Shane Fiedler is thrilled to be awarded the contract. “This means a great deal to our company and to the South Australians we employ and it’s excellent to see our expertise being used on such a significant state project.”
Rich Gilmore, Country Director for The Nature Conservancy Australia is also delighted that construction will soon be underway. “South Australia once had 1500 km of coastline covered in native oyster reefs and we’re confident this project and others we have in WA and Victoria will return these diverse reefs and bring back productivity and fish life to our southern seascapes.”
The four-hectare trial reef is expected to open to recreational fishers later in 2017, following some initial restrictions to ensure the reef and native oyster spat settles in.
A community meeting will be held on Thursday, 11 May 2017 at Ardrossan Town Hall, 9 First Street, Ardrossan at 6.00pm – 7.30pm. All members of the public are welcome to attend.
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.