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Oyster reef restoration research

Published 23 July 2022 Exploring better ways to restore oyster reefs.


Natural oyster reefs are good for our waterways. They:

  • provide food and shelter for fish and other animals
  • improve water quality by filtering and cleaning water
  • protect shorelines from wave erosion.

But oyster reefs don’t provide these benefits like they once did because they have almost completely disappeared in NSW.  In the past, oyster reefs were lost due to over-harvesting, disease, land reclamation and sediments from run-off.

The aim of this action is to bring back oyster reefs in NSW so they can do their job again – naturally.

The action will:

  • deliver the first large-scale trial of oyster reef restoration in NSW
  • study the best ways to restore natural oyster reefs
  • identify the most suitable places in NSW for reef restoration projects
  • explain why oyster reefs are important and how to restore them.



  • Identify suitable reef restoration sites
  • Work with oyster farmers and other key stakeholders
  • Educate and inform coastal communities and key stakeholders
  • Research restoration methods

Port Stephens

  • Reef restoration pilot project site

Botany Bay


Local government areas - Eurobodalla Shire, Mid-coast council, Port Stephens Council, Sutherland Shire

Lead agency

  • Department of Primary Industries


  • OceanWatch Australia
  • Macquarie University
  • University of NSW
  • Sydney University
  • Southern Cross University
  • Sydney Institute of Marine Science
  • The Nature Conservancy, Australia
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council
  • Greater Sydney Local Land Services
  • North Coast Local Land Services

More information

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