The Largest Community-Driven Shellfish Reef Restoration in Australia

OzFish Unlimited do vital work to support fish and fisherman. In the last 12 months, their team have restored 150 waterways and helped over four hectares of shellfish reefs return to their former glory… but this year is already shaping up to be bigger! And it’s all thanks to an ingenious use of one of our favourite seafood delicacies.

OzFish volunteers around Brisbane regularly collect oyster shells from restaurants and seafood businesses in the region. They’re then cleaned, sterilized and packed into baskets – known as ROBS (robust oyster baskets).

ROB building working bees happen a few times a month. Once enough have been created, they’re then deployed into Moreton Bay by the OzFish team to help restore the reef and create a new habitat for even more fish.

Once the ROBS start working their magic, the steel mesh takes around two years to fully degrade – giving the oysters and other shellfish plenty of time to clump together and form their own reef.

So, how does it work?

Well, oysters are considered the liver of the bay – they work as a vacuum, filtering over 180 litres of water each day (per shell!), a process which removes sediment and micro plastics. Through that – these new reefs attract animals like crabs, prawns and worms. And for every hectare of shellfish reef that’s replaced by these ROBS, a further 2.5 tonnes of fish are produced.

So, what does this mean for anglers? Well, good news – where there are more crustaceans and smaller fish, there’s bigger fish too. You’ll have to volunteer for OzFish to find out the GPS coordinates of these new reefs in the bay, so that someday you might land yourself tuna or mackerel from this very spot. The OzFish website has all the details.

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