OzFish members and supporters dedicated over 2900 hours and deployed more than one million recycled oyster shells to help restore shellfish reefs.

Robust oyster baskets in Moreton Bay

Queensland recreational fishers recently delivered the biggest ever single day of habitat restoration in Moreton Bay – deploying more than one million recycled oyster shells to help restore shellfish reefs.

More than 200 members and supporters dedicated over 2900 hours to collect and clean used oyster shells and construct 765 mini reefs – known as robust oyster baskets – using in excess of 16.5 tonnes of shells.

This latest deployment has the potential to be transformational for Moreton Bay, where shellfish reefs were once plentiful and contributed to vibrant fisheries and clear water.

Moreton Bay sea life have begun to establish on the reef restorative robust oyster baskets and OzFish special projects officer Robbie Porter couldn’t be happier.


Two hundred years of dredging, overharvesting and poor water quality mean shellfish reefs are now considered functionally extinct.

The one million recycled shells – collected from restaurants and businesses across Brisbane by volunteers – have the potential to become home to more than 1.5 million living oysters.

In addition, the habitat they create will be able to support tonnes of fish and nearly 750,000 invertebrates, including crabs, shrimp, worms and snails.

OzFish special projects officer for Shellfish Restoration Robbie Porter believes the community spirit being shown by recreational fishers can help revitalise what has been lost in Moreton Bay.

Supporters constructed 765 mini reefs using over 16.5 tonnes of shells.


“This was our biggest day yet returning shellfish to Moreton Bay and it was only possible because of the incredible effort of our members and volunteers,” Mr Porter said.

“They did a power of work, including using their own vehicles to collect the shells, dedicating their time to cleaning the shells, designing the mini reefs and spending more hours on the water to return them to the bay.

“I’d like to thank everybody – from our members through to the many project partners and local businesses in southeast Queensland who have helped.

“We want to keep it up, as there is so much more to be restored.”

The project is the largest community driven shellfish restoration program in Australia, and it is leading the way for anglers in other states inspired by their work who are seeking to replicate its success.

The habitat created will be able to support tonnes of fish and nearly 750,000 invertebrates.


“We’re beginning to make a dent, and it’s just the beginning,” Mr Porter said.

“What’s really exciting is the sea life that begins to establish on the reef – we can see they are doing exactly what we had hoped.”

Shellfish reef restoration has never been undertaken on this scale and speed in Moreton Bay before.

Visit the dedicated project page – ozfish.org.au/projects/moreton-bay-shellfish-reef-restoration – to find out more about why shellfish reefs are so important and how you can get involved.

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