off Adelaide, South Australia
O'Sullivan Beach off Adelaide, South Australia © Anita Nedosyko/TNC


Select the location of next SA shellfish reef

  • Tony Jupp
    Associate Director of Communications

  • Ryan Smith
    Media Adviser
    Office of Minister Speirs

South Australians can now have their say on the location of South Australia’s new metropolitan shellfish reef which will boost fish numbers and create jobs.

Public feedback is now being sought on the location of the Adelaide Oval-sized reef, which will be constructed in Adelaide’s metropolitan waters of the Gulf St Vincent.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said three suitable locations off the coast of Glenelg, O’Sullivan Beach and Port Noarlunga have been identified as options based on science and advice from experts.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is investing $1.2 million in the reef to create a flourishing marine environment that creates new habitat, supports fish and will create 10 full-time jobs in the region,” said Minister Speirs.

“The three locations were selected based on accessibility, water depth, seabed composition, historical locations of shellfish reefs and current environmental conditions, all to ensure that the restored shellfish reef can grow and thrive.

“We want public feedback on the preferred location – out of three proposed locations – for South Australia’s second reconstructed shellfish reef.”

The two-hectare shellfish reef will be constructed using a limestone reef base, with hatchery-raised Australian Flat Oysters deployed to re-create a living shellfish reef over the next several years.

Director of The Nature Conservancy in Australia, Rich Gilmore said shellfish reefs, just like coral reefs, provide homes for many marine species thereby boosting fish stocks, while also helping to clean seawater through the natural process of filter feeding.

“Oysters are excellent water filterers, with each one filtering 100 litres of water a day. This helps improve local water conditions and supports the return of other ecosystems like seagrass,” said Mr Gilmore.

“Shellfish reefs once characterised the sheltered nearshore areas of South Australia. But from the late 1800s to mid-1900s reefs suffered – here and in many places around the world – from the impact of overfishing, dredging, water pollution and disease. Almost all of South Australia’s shellfish reefs disappeared.”

South Australia’s first reconstructed shellfish reef - 20-hectare Windara Reef off the coast of Ardrossan - was completed in November last year.  

A decision on the final location is expected by April-May, and South Australia’s metropolitan reef should be completed by the end of the year.

The reconstruction of South Australia’s metropolitan reef is a partnership between the South Australian Government and The Nature Conservancy.  Feedback can be provided by visiting the YourSAy website, including dates and locations for three feedback workshops.

The new Adelaide 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. Projects in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay, South Australia’s Gulf St Vincent and Western Australia’s Oyster Harbour are in advanced stages of reconstruction with others getting underway in and near Perth, WA and Noosa, Queensland. 

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.