Admire the newly created oyster reefs and fish hotels!
Tour oyster reefs and gain insight into the Noosa Oyster Gardening Program. Help The Nature Conservancy and Noosa Integrated Catchment Association examine baskets filled with juvenile rock oyster spat and support the recovery of Noosa’s endangered rock oyster ecosystem.
The Noosa Oyster Gardening Program is part of the Noosa Oyster Ecosystem Restoration Project, supporting The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to restore 30% of Australia’s lost shellfish ecosystems - if achieved, it would make Australia the first nation to recover a critically endangered marine ecosystem.
Join us for a Tread Lightly experience with Noosa Integrated Catchment Association on your next visit!
The Noosa Oyster Ecosystem Restoration Project is bringing back the lost oyster reefs of the Noosa River. For thousands of years First Nations peoples sustainably harvested oysters in Noosa and many other coastal estuaries of South East Queensland. A combination of over-harvesting and anthropogenic changes to the river and its catchment has seen this type of ecosystem become functionally extinct.
Now ecosystem restoration is underway thanks to a project championed by The Nature Conservancy and Noosa Council and the Australian Government. As part of this project, Noosa Integrated Catchment Association (NICA) is supporting restoration efforts by enlisting oyster gardeners to grow oysters in baskets under private jetties which are then released onto the project restoration site.
The project team supplies the oyster gardeners with juvenile oysters (called ‘spat’), which has been settled onto specially dried (or cured) oyster shell (called cultch) in a shellfish hatchery. Oyster gardeners then raise the juvenile oysters to adulthood over a six-to-twelve-month period, monitoring their progress and keeping the gardens clean. The oysters are then released onto the rocky foundations of the oyster ecosystem that the project has installed on the restoration sites. Once released onto the restoration site, the oysters continue to grow to maturity, spawn and help recolonise the living reef ecosystem, effectively helping to kick start the ecosystem restoration.
Oyster gardeners support the growth of young oysters until their shells harden and are large enough to avoid being eaten on mass by predatory fish such as bream.
A handful of Noosa restaurants are showing their support of the restoration program by diverting empty oyster shells from landfill and donating them to the Noosa Oyster Gardening Program.