Looking for new life on artificial oyster reefs

A person in shallow water on an artifical oyster reef

A researcher monitors the success the first large-scale oyster reef restoration project in NSW.

Researchers have begun underwater monitoring to look for the first signs of success on an oyster reef restoration project underway in Port Stephens.

NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Scientist, Dr Victoria Cole, said researchers would search for evidence that marine life had begun to colonise two oyster reef sites in the Myall and Karuah Rivers.

“We hope to see a diverse and healthy community of marine life including oysters, fish and invertebrates on these new reefs,” Dr Cole said.

“We will take core samples and use underwater cameras to document the marine life now living on the oyster reef restoration sites.

“The results will be compared with observations taken before more than 2,000 tonnes of rock had been deposited in shallow waters to create the oyster reefs’” Dr Cole added.

A further 1,000 tonnes of rock will be deposited before the end of March to finalise this oyster reef restoration project, which is the first large-scale one of its kind in NSW.

The oyster reefs will provide habitat for a range of marine life including local recreational and commercial fish species. Oyster reefs also help with natural water filtration and protect the shoreline from tidal and storm surges.

Page last updated/reviewed: 18 Mar 2020