In Agriculture

South Australia Minister for Primary Industries Tim Whetstone

South Australia Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs

50,000 Oysters Find New Home At Windara Reef

Victor P Taffa

More than 50,000 native oysters have been introduced to Windara Reef this week as part of Australia’s biggest reef restoration project, led by The Nature Conservancy.

This is the first of 2 oyster deployments for 2019, which together will seed the new reefs with over 7 Million juvenile native Australian Flat Oysters grown in South Australian hatcheries.

This week’s oysters, donated by Primary Industries and Regions South Australia research division SARDI (the South Australian Research and Development Institute), are about eight months old and are all roughly the size of a 50 Cent piece.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said Windara Reef, near Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula, will restore an important marine reef ecosystem that has been lost from Gulf St. Vincent for some time.

“This project will result in economic and social benefit to the nearby communities of Yorke Peninsula through the creation of new jobs, particularly tourism associated with recreation and fishing, as well as new volunteering and community education programs.” Minister Speirs said.

Director of The Nature Conservancy in Australia Rich Gilmore said Windara Reef will help to increase marine biodiversity.

“Once fully established, Windara Reef will boost fish productivity and improve water quality.” Mr. Gilmore said.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said SARDI’s research has contributed to the understanding of the reproductive cycle of this species in South Australia and the production of native oyster spat.

“I’m extremely pleased that SARDI’s capabilities have recently been used to assist both commercial and environmental interests for the benefit of South Australia.” Minister Whetstone said.

Shellfish reefs dominated by Australian Flat Oysters (Ostrea angasi) were commonplace in South Australian gulfs and bays in the 1800’s with researchers estimating that they once spread across 1,500 km of coastline.

“Today we have no known native oyster reefs left in South Australia.” Minister Whetstone said.

SA Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs










Construction of Windara Reef began in 2017 with 150 limestone reefs laid across a 20-ha bare, sandy area just off the coast of Ardrossan on the Yorke Peninsula.

Baby oysters will start producing spat (offspring) when they are three years old, which will help create a self-sustaining reef.

Windara Reef is the largest shellfish reef restoration project in the Southern Hemisphere and it is expected to take 7 years to be fully functioning.

This project is a partnership funded by:

  • Federal Government,
  • Ian Potter Foundation
  • South Australian Government,
  • The Nature Conservancy,
  • University of Adelaide,
  • Yorke Peninsula Council.

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