Almost two years after the Estuary Care Foundation’s native oyster trials began, the Foundation is successfully trialling oysters on our small Inner Harbour reef, an encouraging sign for planning a larger scale reef.
Late in 2018, after success with our adult oysters and spat, we decided to see if the oysters could survive without the protection of oyster baskets and so designed and installed a small reef.
The reef was built in early December 2018, and on February 2nd, 2019 BSAC volunteer divers then deployed some oysters onto the reef. Since predation by creatures, including crabs and drill snails, seemed possible we elected to use only about 1/3 of our adult oysters in the trial.
On Easter Saturday we assessed the outcomes of the trial. The BSAC divers came back to the reef and reported, to our relief and pleasure, that most of the oysters are alive.
When the oysters again spawn in spring/summer our hope is that the spat settles on the bagged oyster shell, and that the bagged structure can transform into a small reef.
The Foundation hopes to secure funds to enable a more extensive reef to be built in the Inner Harbour. The Windara reef, between Stansbury and Ardrossan, is demonstrating that substrate is the key to the restoration of the native oyster. We’d like to follow their example, of building a reef with limestone and shell, in an Inner Harbour site that is accessible to divers and snorkellers.