The North-Western Gulf St Vincent was chosen as the location for the Yorke Peninsula Shellfish Reef, following two rounds of community consultation. Hundreds of members of the community attended public meetings and provided feedback, contributing to the final location.
The reef site – south of Ardrossan and within the vicinity of Rouges Point – is the most viable option due to the Yorke Peninsula’s popularity with recreational fishers and for its suitability for establishing a shellfish reef.
The reef will focus on habitat restoration, specifically the restoration of native shellfish reefs, which have been lost from the Yorke Peninsula region.
The reef will be built using a mixture of materials including custom made concrete structures (eg. reef balls) and limestone rock, which will be layered with Pacific Oyster shells covered in juvenile native oysters.
Through the provision of food and habitat the Yorke Peninsula Shellfish Reef will help support fish production, increase water quality and assist with coastal erosion. This is the largest reef restoration project outside the US and places an international spotlight on South Australia.
Construction of the reef will occur in two phases. Phase one will commence in 2017 and includes construction of a trial reef of up to four hectares. Phase two will involve expansion of up to 20 hectares of shellfish reef which is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The trial reef is one part of a $3.25 million package announced at the 2014 State Election to boost recreational fishing and tourism.
International and interstate experience indicates these types of reefs are rapidly colonised by marine life, but are likely to take several years to reach their full potential.
The State Government has partnered with The Nature Conservancy, a non-for-profit conservation organization and international leaders in shellfish restoration, to deliver the Yorke Peninsula Shellfish Reef project.