Port of Brisbane Shellfish Habitat Restoration

Port of Brisbane Shellfish Habitat Restoration

 

Installing artificial shellfish reefs in the Port of Brisbane to enhance marine biodiversity.

 

Sea turtleRestoring shellfish habitats will enhance fish stocks, and marine biodiversity, and ultimately improve water quality in the Port of Brisbane.The Port of Brisbane Shellfish Habitat Restoration project is working towards enhancing the aquatic habitat and improving invertebrate and fish abundance at the Port of Brisbane.

Not only shellfish are a vital part of Indigenous cultural heritage, but they are also an incredibly important cog in marine ecosystems.

This project is a component of a larger Shellfish Reef Restoration Program to improve water quality through the provision of biofiltration and increase fish stocks through the enhancement of fish habitat.

 

This project focuses on:

  • Installing an artificial shellfish reef.
  • Increasing fish stocks and marine biodiversity.
  • Improving water quality.
  • Sharing learnings and building knowledge on the utilisation of shellfish restoration.

 

 

What we are doing

Shellfish in a bagA growing shellfish population promotes the abundance and diversity of fish species and enhances marine biodiversity.

The process of restoring shellfish habitat involves:

  • Restoring shellfish reef populations in an approved area within the Port of Brisbane leased area.
  • Increasing the area of shellfish reef enhances aquatic habitat, and improves invertebrate and fish abundance and diversity.
  • Enhancing the aquatic habitat.
  • Improving invertebrate and fish abundance and diversity by installing an artificial oyster (shellfish) reef.
  • Establishing a monitoring program to assess changes in invertebrate and fish abundance and diversity before and after management intervention (shellfish reef installation).
  • Improving water quality.

 

Measuring success

As a result of this project, the following will be achieved:

  • Growing shellfish populations promote abundance and diversity of fish species, enhance marine biodiversity, and ultimately improve water quality.
  • Installation of ten Oz Fish ROB 1000s designed to increase the process of reef adhesion and productivity.
  • Constant monitoring of fish abundance to detect ‘fish attracting’ effects.
    Data gathering that can be used to inform larger-scale restoration efforts in other areas of Moreton Bay.
  • Improvement of water quality through the provision of biofiltration and increase of fish stocks through enhancement of fish habitat.
  • Sharing learnings and building knowledge on the utilisation of shellfish restoration as a viable catchment health tool in Southeast Queensland.
  • Restoration of oyster reefs in an approved area within the Port of Brisbane, approximately 200 m from the existing oyster reef.
  • One million recycled shells have been collected by OzFish volunteers from restaurants and businesses across Brisbane, then cleaned and gathered to create mini reefs known as Robust Oyster Baskets (ROB). For this project, 10 ROBs 1000mm x 800mm wide x 400mm high have been deployed in proximity to the Port.

  • OzFish reports that over 200 members and supporters have dedicated over 2,900 hours to collecting and cleaning used oyster shells and constructing 765 mini reefs, using an excess of 16.5 tonnes of shells. 

 

Why this project is important

Not only are shellfish a vital part of Indigenous cultural heritage, but they are also an important cog in marine ecosystems.

Shellfish are fondly known as the 'kidneys of the coast' due to their natural filtration properties and their ability to improve water clarity by drawing in particles and distributing them to the seafloor. Once grown, one shellfish can filter up to 100 litres of water a day, improving water quality and creating an environment that allows marine flora and fauna in estuaries and coastal waters to thrive.

In addition, they improve coastal water quality, sequester nutrients, provide habitat for juvenile fish, and support recreational fishing and tourism.

Unfortunately, the combined effects of overharvesting, disease, and water pollution have severely depleted native shellfish reefs in South East Queensland and Australia. Over 96% of the shellfish reefs within Moreton Bay have been lost, severely impacting their ecological functions.

This Port of Brisbane Shellfish Reef Restoration Project is a component of a larger Shellfish Reef Restoration Program to improve water quality through the provision of biofiltration and increase fish stocks through the enhancement of fish habitat.

In addition, this project will share learnings and build knowledge on the utilisation of shellfish restoration as a viable catchment health tool in Southeast Queensland.

  

Project snapshot

Project name:  Port of Brisbane Shellfish Habitat Restoration Project
Project manager:  Chelsea Kluske, Healthy Land & Water
Catchment:  Brisbane
Timing: 2022-2023 (Completed)
Budget: $50,0000
Partnerships: 

This habitat restoration project is funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

This habitat restoration program is delivered in collaboration with BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing, Port of Brisbane, and OzFish Unlimited.

Significant in-kind support came from OzFish volunteers in their oyster gardening project, shell recycling, and invertebrate monitoring.

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What's next

There is huge potential to build on the successful work. 

 

Project collaborators

This habitat restoration project is funded by the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.

This habitat restoration program is delivered in collaboration with BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing, Port of Brisbane, and OzFish Unlimited.

Significant in-kind support came from OzFish volunteers in their oyster gardening project, shell recycling, and invertebrate monitoring.

 

Australian Government NLP    

 

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