Pioneering shellfish reef restoration in Australia

Mr Simon Branigan1, Dr Chris Gillies1, Mr Simon  Reeves1, Ms Anita Nedosyko1

1The Nature Conservancy, Ocean Grove, Australia


Restoration of Australia’s shellfish reefs has been a key component of The Nature Conservancy’s Great Southern Seascapes program since its inception in 2014. There are now active shellfish reef restoration projects established in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria; Gulf St Vincent, South Australia; Oyster Harbour, Western Australia; Noosa and Pumicestone Passage in Queensland.

Shellfish reefs were once one of the dominant habitats in many estuaries across Southern Australia, however overfishing by the early European settlers decimated these reefs, removing a thriving ecosystem and vital benefits to human society. Restoration of shellfish reefs at scale will increase fish productivity, water filtration, stabilisation of sediments and coastal protection.

Pioneering restoration of shellfish reefs in an Australian context has required many elements to align. This presentation will provide an overview of the driving force behind the success of these projects highlighting barriers and challenges. Common project management considerations will be identified as well as restoration, communications, monitoring approaches and mechanisms to increase community involvement. The experience gained and lessons learnt from implementing these projects continues to unfold, and will be valuable information to natural resource managers and other practitioners embarking on similar undertakings.



About the Association

The Australian Coastal Society (ACS) was initiated at the Coast to Coast Conference in Tasmania in 2004. The idea was floated as a means for those interested in coastal matters to communicate between conferences and where possible take resolutions of the conference to appropriate levels of government.

The idea was discussed further at the Coast to Coast Conference in Melbourne in 2006 and it was agreed that Bruce Thom develop a constitution of a company limited by guarantee that would operate on a national basis.

This plan was accomplished and in 2008 at the Coast to Coast Conference in Darwin the constitution was ratified and an Executive appointed. The company received charitable status in 2011.

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