Flourishing Oceans16 Mar 2023

New shellfish reefs brought to life in the Swan-Canning Estuary

Minderoo Foundation is celebrating the successful completion of the final stage of a reef restoration project aimed at boosting the health and biodiversity of Perth’s iconic Swan-Canning Estuary.

Mussel Reef
Mussels being placed into the reef. . Photo Credit: The Nature Conservancy .

The project, led by The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC), involved the construction of four new native shellfish reefs and the seeding of 160 tonnes of adult blue mussels onto the new reef bases.

Construction of the reef bases started in July 2022 within an eight-hectare area spanning across four sites, including two at Freshwater Bay, one at Point Walter, and one at Attadale. This makes it the largest shellfish reef project completed in Western Australia and one of the largest in Australia.

Dr Tony Worby, Director of the Flourishing Oceans initiative at Minderoo Foundation, said it was important to restore the reef, which had been used for building material during European settlement.

“The Swan-Canning Estuary is highly valued by the Whadjuk people and the broader Western Australian public,” Dr Worby said. “This project has helped improve the health of the estuary by restoring reefs that were damaged during our early European history.”

“The reefs will provide habitat for mussels and other marine life critical for keeping the water clean and the river thriving.”

The Swan-Canning Estuary site is one of 13 locations identified for restoration under the Reef Builder program, a partnership between the Australian Government and TNC to establish and restore shellfish reefs and support local communities with the creation of jobs.

“Australian communities are at the centre of efforts to protect and preserve our most precious natural environments. This project has introduced the equivalent to one and a half blue whales’ worth of adult blue mussels to build new shellfish reefs in the Swan-Canning Estuary,” Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Environment and Water said.

“These shellfish reefs will not only provide positive outcomes for marine species but will also create greater opportunities for recreational fishing and tourism in the heart of Perth.”

The reef restoration project was made possible through a tremendous collaboration between government, industry, academia, Derbarl Yerrigan Knowledge Holders and the broader community. Generous funding support was provided by Lotterywest, Minderoo Foundation, Western Australia’s Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the Australian Government’s Reef Builder initiative, as well as Jock Clough, Adrian & Michela Fini, Austral Fisheries, Gavin Bunning, The McCusker Foundation, Major Holdings Pty Ltd, the Ungar Family, and Michael & Margrete Chaney.

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Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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