FISHERS and marine life are already reaping the benefits of that pile of rocks and recycled oyster shells that were moved from the old Tea Gardens ramp to the entrance of the Myall River earlier this year, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
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The rocks and shells form part of the Oyster project currently being piloted in the lower Myall River.
It uses one of the area’s historical industries, oysters, to boost the river habitat.
The recycled oyster shells were collected from oyster farmers located within Port Stephens, to ensure diseases are not introduced from other estuaries.
Oyster reefs once covered large areas of the local marine environment, providing habitat and food for fish, invertebrates, and other marine life.
Many were lost over time due to over harvesting, habitat removal, dredging, water pollution and disease.
DPI Senior Fisheries Manager, Kylie Russell, stated, “The project placed 3,300 tonnes of rock and 180 cubic metres of recycled oyster shell on two restoration sites, creating more than 10,000 square metres of reef base for oyster colonisation. Researchers have already documented fish and invertebrates utilising the new reefs and settlement of oysters began within days of the rocks being placed,”
The restoration of oyster reefs is part of the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS).