Pumicestone Passage oyster bank. Image by Ben Diggles

TMBF Director Ian Tibbetts spent 2020 engaged in video meetings as a member of the Department of Environment and Science (DES) Shellfish Reef Restoration and Adaptation Working Group. Convened by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the group included marine experts from state government, local tertiary research institutions, Traditional Owners and NGOs who drafted recommendations to the Deputy Director General (DDG) of the DES on new approaches to facilitate marine restoration projects.

Though in significant decline over the past 200 years, Moreton Bay was once home to extensive wild oyster reefs. At its peak in 1891, the fishery extracted 3.65 million dozen oysters from the Bay. Compare that to today’s average aquaculture production of 140,000 dozen and you can understand the scale of the loss. Importantly, oyster reefs have significant value beyond food, they are of great cultural significance for First Nations people, provide habitat for both fish and invertebrates, connect coral reef, seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh habitats, protect our shores, and deliver significant water filtration services.

The recommendations submitted by the Working Group have been endorsed by the DDG, who embraced the opportunity to continue collaboration with other state government departments to support implementation. The expected changes in process and strategy will facilitate restoring this, and other, vital but diminished habitats to the Bay. We are pleased that TMBF had a strong and early role in the process as habitat restoration is one of its key priorities.

Read the endorsed recommendations here.