Oyster Harbour reef set for spring spawn

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Nature Conservancy's Alex Hams at Oyster Harbour.
Camera IconNature Conservancy's Alex Hams at Oyster Harbour. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A project to repopulate native flat oysters in Oyster Harbour is well under way with in-water works set to start in October.

The $1.15 million oyster reef project, funded by the State Government, aims to return oyster reefs to the harbour.

Albany environmental scientist and project co-ordinator Alex Hams said the artificial reef would be deployed into the harbour in October to coincide with a natural oyster spawning event.

“We’d like to put the reef down when we’ve got the most natural recruitment,” he said. “Around the same time we will also go out searching for mature oysters in the harbour to take into the hatchery to do spawning cycles.

“Hopefully we can get one million oysters to cultivate.”

The reef will be made of a mixture of limestone and shell, and will provide the oysters with better access to filtered water for survival.

Mr Hams, a marine restoration co-ordinator with The Nature Conservancy, said the team had completed a site suitability map which identified high-priority areas for the reef and provided a blueprint for possible extension.

“We’ve also recently completed monitoring in the harbour so that we have a baseline to compare to after the reefs have become established,” he said.

“By putting back the oyster reefs that once thrived in the area over 150 years ago, the harbour will benefit from a boost in fish productivity, improved water quality and increased overall biodiversity.”

A community forum will be held at the UWA Albany Campus next Thursday.

Register interest by Tuesday on 0421 456 708 or lex.hams @tnc.org.

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