Wilson Spit Reef deployment, Workers deploy limestone rocks on the seafloor of Port Phillip Bay © Tony Jupp/TNC


Restored shellfish reefs bring hope for a better Bay

Media Contacts

  • Tony Jupp
    Associate Director of Communications
    The Nature Conservancy Australia
    Email: tjupp@tnc.org

As part of our Port Phillip Bay reef restoration project in Victoria, this week The Nature Conservancy is building 500 square metres of mussel reefs in Corio Bay, Geelong. We’ll be placing 55 tonnes of limestone rubble and 13.75 tonnes of recycled shells onto the sea floor as reef base. The shells are part of our award winning Shuck Don’t Chuck shell recycling program, sourced from restaurants like Little Creatures in Geelong.

In mid-July we’ll be back to cover that base, along with Margaret’s Reef off St Kilda that we built in November last year, with 11 tonnes of live mussels grown by a local farmer.

“Our project to restore the lost shellfish reefs of Port Phillip Bay has been up and running for more than three years now”, said Simon Branigan, Marine Restoration Coordinator at The Nature Conservancy. “The momentum behind restoring the shellfish reefs that once dominated up to half of Port Phillip Bay’s seafloor, continues to build and it’s great to be leading that push”.

Four oyster reefs at Wilson Spit in Corio Bay and Margaret’s Reef in Hobsons Bay have already been restored totalling 1,150 square metres over a total footprint of one hectare. Two million hatchery reared oysters have been used to seed these new reefs which are encouraging back other species like pinkie snapper, goatfish, flathead, red swimmer crab, banded and shovelnose stingarees, and seahorses.

“By working with partners like the Victorian Government and the Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club to bring back the reefs that were historically overexploited, we’re also bringing back their benefits like cleaner water and greater marine biodiversity including more fish for recreational anglers”, concluded Branigan.

The project is also supported by The Thomas Foundation, Brambles, CHEP Australia, SUEZ Australia & New Zealand, HSBC Australia and J & M Wright Foundation.

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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.