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Shelling out to boost water quality

Posted: 9am 26 Dec 2021

Redcliffe Sunrise Rotary Club members are helping transform Moreton Bay one oyster shell at a time.

The Club’s Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group is collecting oyster shells from Morgans Seafood at Scarborough and working with environmental not-for-profit Ozfish to regenerate oyster reefs in Moreton Bay.

Collecting shells

Vice-President Colin Scobie says the club, which houses its blue collection bins at the Clontarf waste facility thanks to Moreton Bay Regional Council, eventually hopes to expand the program to include other wholesalers and restaurants.

From Clontarf, the shells are taken to a special area at the Port of Brisbane, where they sit for six months to ensure they are bio-secure before being washed and put into special cages and then placed in designated regeneration areas in the bay under the guidance of Ozfish.

The Central Moreton Bay chapter of Ozfish hopes to restore 100ha of shellfish reef over the next 10 years.

Natural filter

Colin says oysters are a natural filtration system to improve water quality and the benefits of collecting empty shells were many.

“It stops the shells going to landfill and it restores the fish habitat,” Colin says.

“There’s a whole cycle of habitat and the oysters improve the habitat for fish.

“As well, the basket reefs are good at stopping storm surges and act as a buffer between the ocean and the mangroves.”

He says the shell-filled baskets are only placed where there are already oysters growing, to encourage oyster spat to lodge and create new colonies.

Find out more on the Rotary Club of Redcliffe Sunrise Facebook page.

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