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Glenelg shellfish reef doubles in size

Wednesday 27 October 2021
Barge off the coast of Glenelg

The Glenelg shellfish reef, which was first built last year, is being expanded to more than double its original size.

Once complete by the end of this month, it will consist of 28 reef patches across a 5-hectare area, which is roughly the size of two Adelaide Ovals.

The expansion will further enhance the important ecosystem services this reef provides such as purifying water and helping fish populations by providing vital shelter for fish nurseries.

To ensure the reef is surviving well, the Nature Conservancy will be tracking its recovery over the next few years.

The first stage of the shellfish reef was constructed in November last year with 1400 tonnes of limestone over a 2-hectare area.

It was then seeded with around 1 million juvenile Australian Flat Oysters, which are already showing signs of excellent growth. Some are reportedly the size of an adult’s hand.

Also seen visiting the reef are a variety of marine life, including squid, whiting and blue swimmer crabs.

The reef is located about one kilometre off the coast of Glenelg, at a depth of approximately seven metres. It’s expected to take seven to 10 years to mature and become a diverse and abundant natural ecosystem.

Fishing is not yet permitted around the reef and will be allowed a year after the reef was established. Diving is allowed and divers are encouraged to contribute to citizen science and report what they see on iNaturalist.

The reef restoration was led by The Nature Conservancy Australia in partnership with the Australian Government and South Australian Department for Environment and Water.

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