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Oyster reefs deliver better water quality for Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park

Photo of smaller silver fish swimming above oyster reef

The Port Stephens Oyster Reef Restoration project is delivering water quality improvements to the Port Stephens-Great Lakes Marine Park and supporting more fish.

Monitoring of the reefs has shown that in the first summer over 50 million baby oysters naturally recruited to the new rock and shell reef bases.

The newly recruited oysters are now up to half the size of fully established adult oysters and are starting to form a 3-dimensional oyster habitat - like natural oyster reefs!

Although it takes many years for restored oyster reefs to function the same as a natural oyster reef, in a year since the new reefs were created, they are already filtering water, and helping to improve water quality, at over half the rate of natural oyster reefs!

Fish numbers are up too! Fish abundance has increased by 10% at restoration sites and the number of fish species using the area has increased by 15%.

NSW DPI Fisheries scientists continue to monitor the reefs, so stay tuned to follow the results.

The Port Stephens Oyster Reef Restoration project is delivered by NSW DPI in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, Australia with funding from the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy and the Australian Government’s Reef Builder initiative which aims to protect and restore 13 shellfish reefs across Australia.

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