On Friday, local OzFish volunteers deployed 2,265 Robust Oyster Baskets, lovingly called ROBs, onto the restoration site, taking the total number to an incredible 6,465 since the project launched nearly two years ago.
The ROBs are made from degradable steel mesh filled with recycled oyster shell that volunteers help clean at the shell recycling centre at the Port of Brisbane. The shells are collected from local restaurant, bars and wholesalers and recycled by volunteers.
All up there were more than 2.7 million shells in the baskets dropped into the water on Friday, bringing the total of shells deployed to just under 7.8 million for the project.
The baskets take about two years to degrade, which gives the oysters and other shellfish time to clump together, leaving only a solid structure of oyster shells and living shellfish.
They were loaded onto a barge to be placed into a 19.6-hectare site which was graciously donated to OzFish for restoration by the Port of Brisbane.
Marine creatures in Moreton Bay are facing a housing crisis of their own after a staggering 96% of shellfish reef habitat has been destroyed in the past 150 years, leaving them functionally extinct.
OzFish's Central Moreton Chapter refuses to stand by idly. The results from a study conducted by Griffith University on the previously deployed ROBs are nothing short of astonishing. Each ROB creates 626 new homes for shellfish, as well as providing shelter for a remarkable 1120 other animals including crabs, worms, prawns and other creatures.
This incredible achievement amounts to more than 11 million new animals now thriving on the site, showcasing a massive increase in biodiversity.
Furthermore, OzFish has already successfully restored 10 hectares of shellfish reefs. As a result, volunteers have contributed to the generation of 2,500 tonnes of additional harvestable fish for Moreton Bay, year after year, forever.
“Together, we are making a significant impact on the health and sustainability of our oceans,” said Robbie Porter, OzFish Senior Special Projects Officer - Shellfish Revolution.
“Each restored hectare produces an additional 2.5 tonnes of harvestable fish every year for Moreton Bay.
“I believe this is the best shellfish restoration project in Australia without question. Queensland should be very proud of what we’re achieving.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the exceptional OzFish Central Moreton Chapter volunteers for their tireless dedication in supporting this work. Without their time and ingenuity, this project wouldn’t be possible.”
The Moreton Bay shellfish restoration project has been made possible by OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s only recreational fishing charity, the Port of Brisbane, Queensland Fisheries, Healthy Land and Water through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing and a wealth of community partners and corporate supporters.
OzFish would also like to thank Malec Transport and MGN Civil for their help in providing the barge and a front-end loader for the recent deployment.
To learn more about the Moreton Bay shellfish reef restoration with OzFish, visit: https://ozfish.org.au/projects/moreton-bay-shellfish-reef-restoration/
Vision and high-res photos of the project are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/51rl17dkw7r4yrx/AACWYpqmo7ToWECN3UuaqSHHa?dl=0
If you would like to become a member of OzFish ,log onto www.ozfish.org.au or contact 1800 431 308.
OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, clean-ups, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.
If you would like further information or to interview Robbie Porter, please contact Paul Suttor, OzFish Unlimited
0421 491 229 | email@example.com