New oyster shell washing facility for Moreton Bay

A NEW oyster shell washing plant has started operation at the Port of Brisbane to boost shellfish reef restoration efforts. The washer will be used for washing and preparing shells recovered from Brisbane restaurants, pubs and professional shuckers to be reused to restore shellfish reefs of Moreton Bay.

The facility is the work of the local Moreton Bay Chapter of OzFish Unlimited, Australia’s fishing conservation charity. OzFish Unlimited SEQ project Officer Robbie Porter said the washer would speed up work that previously had been done by hand by OzFish volunteers and was vital in regenerating the lost shellfish reefs.

“Shellfish reefs are Moreton Bays unsung hero,” Mr Porter said. oyster shell washing

“Oysters and mussels clean the water, increase fish stocks, and improve marine biodiversity in our bay.

“Sadly, we have lost 95% of these precious reefs in Moreton Bay and they need our help to return. oyster shell washing

“Recycled oyster shell makes the perfect building blocks for reef restoration.

“They create new homes for baby oysters and provide habitat and food for many other marine species.”

OzFish volunteers of recreational anglers have been collecting and cleaning oyster shells for over two years and have diverted 100sq m of used shell that would have otherwise gone into landfill. Some of the recycled shells have already been given a new home in a trial restoration site on Pumicestone Passage. oyster shell washing

“The oyster shells must be sterilised and washed before we can use them in restoration work, as they have come from all over Australia and may contain unwanted pests,” Mr Porter said.

Local Member for Bonner Ross Vasta helped secure a funding grant through the Australian Government Communities Environments Program for the OzFish fish habitat restoration project. oyster shell washing

“With so many shells to wash, this machine will make it faster and easier, and it will also do a much better job of washing them than we have been able to do by hand,” Mr Porter said.

Mr Vasta urged people to get involved in the project and support the work of the local OzFish group that had benefits for the wider Queensland community.

“It’s great to help such an important and motivated community group that are restoring fish habitat in our beautiful Moreton Bay with this $20,000 Communities Environment grant,” Mr Vasta said. oyster shell washing

If you would like to know more about the project or get involved, become a member of OzFish online at www.ozfish.org.au or call 1800 431 308.

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