Shellfish Reef Restoration
Moreton Bay and many coastal estuaries of South East Queensland (SEQ) once supported dense and diverse shellfish reefs. Oysters have been a valuable resource for Traditional Owners and the oyster industry was one of the first major industries following European occupation. With overharvesting, disease and water pollution, native shellfish reefs in South East Queensland and Australia have been significantly depleted.
Healthy shellfish reefs create conditions that allow many other marine plant and animal species to thrive, and are vital to the health of our bays and estuaries supporting fish production, improving water quality and reducing coastal erosion.
Shellfish reefs play a very important role in providing shelter for small fish and juveniles of larger fish and house a large number of small invertebrates which are an important food source for fish. In South East Queensland waterways, the type of fish most likely to benefit from shellfish reefs are snapper, bream, tarwhine and tailor.
If you are a recreational fisher, why not join the growing group of recreational fishers at OzFish Unlimited who want to give back to the sport they love by protecting and restoring fish habitat. Join them at www.ozfish.org.au.
With support from the Australian Government National Landcare Program, Healthy Land and Water is supporting multi-sectoral efforts in SEQ to re-establish shellfish reefs with monitored trials starting in the Pumicestone Passage. To improve conservation outcomes by increasing community knowledge on their cultural, social, economic and ecological values. We are active members of the Australian Shellfish Reef Restoration Network which supports similar efforts across Australia.
In partnership with OzFish Unlimited and the Bunya Bunya Country Aboriginal Corporation (BBCAC), a trial is underway to re-establish the last oyster lease on the Maroochy River at Bli Bli. The Bli Bli Oyster lease has a long cultural history, first being established in the 1880’s and passed down through generations. The lease was passed on to the Descendants of the South-Sea Islanders (DASSI) whose forbears working the lease for many years. The members of the BBCAC are keen recreational fishers and actively work on Country to promote the protection and restoration of fish habitat through mangrove and saltmarsh restoration and riparian rehabilitation.
The Traditional Owners of the Pumicestone Passage are trialling the restoration of shellfish habitat to improve water quality and fish habitat in partnership with Healthy Land and Water (supported through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program) the Pumicestone Passage Fish Restocking Association, Sunfish Queensland, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Unitywater, and Fisheries Queensland. This project is also supported by the Queensland Government funded Healthy Country program to improve water quality in Moreton Bay.