- Work is underway to construct oyster reefs near Albany to improve aquatic biodiversity and water quality
- 1,000 tonnes of natural limestone rubble will be dropped and stocked with native oysters
- Election commitment to restore reefs in Oyster Harbour well underway
The McGowan Government's $1 million election commitment for Albany's Oyster Harbour is taking shape with the first barge of locally sourced limestone rubble unloaded to form the base of new reefs this week.
The limestone is being placed over a total of 800 square metres to create a series of reef segments and restore habitat for Australian flat oysters in the harbour.
The State-owned Albany Shellfish Hatchery is currently growing the oyster spat which will stock the new reefs. The reefs have been designed to support the growth of about one million native oysters at a number of carefully chosen locations within Oyster Harbour.
The project will work to enhance the marine environment of Albany's well known Oyster Harbour and restore the habitat of the threatened Australian flat oyster. Once abundant throughout the bays and estuaries of southern Australia from Perth to Sydney, 99 per cent of Australian flat oyster reefs have been wiped out.
The project is led by The Nature Conservancy, with State Government funding, and supported by Recfishwest, The University of Western Australia, Great Southern Development Commission and South Coast NRM groups.
Comments attributed to Fisheries Minister Dave Kelly:
"With the reef construction now underway, we are a major step closer to restoring a habitat for Australian flat oysters which were previously abundant in Oyster Harbour.
"Our recfishers will also be watching with interest as the native oysters are re-established, and in turn the restored oyster reefs should bring in popular recreational fishing species like whiting, bream and snapper.
"This exciting project is hoping to deliver on all fronts, with the reefs expected to improve overall biodiversity and water quality in Oyster Harbour and boost recreational fishing opportunities in the area."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"The McGowan Government committed to bring back the reef habitats and biodiversity values of Oyster Harbour, and with the wonderful work of The Nature Conservancy we are on our way to doing that.
"The use of locally sourced limestone to build the base of the reefs, stocked with locally produced oyster spat provides opportunities for local jobs while allowing a native aquatic species to recover within this beautiful harbour."
Comments attributed to Albany MLA Peter Watson:
"The Albany community is a major supporter and benefactor of this innovative project and is celebrating this important milestone with The Nature Conservancy.
"When the limestone reef base is settled, the young oysters will be seeded and continue to grow on the reef, attracting other aquatic species to create a fully functioning shellfish reef.
"Our local and visiting fishers continue to enjoy the diversity of fish species living within the harbour and the new reefs will further enhance this experience."
Fisheries Minister's office - 6552 6100
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200