Shellfish may improve water and save Pumicestone Passage
SHELLFISH could be the answer to improving water quality and fish stocks in Pumicestone Passage.
Moreton Bay Regional Council will contribute $20,000 to the cost of the first stage of a shellfish reef restoration project to be carried out by SEQ Catchments, DigsFish Services and Sunfish and $30,000 has been secured from Pumicestone Passage Restocking Association for stage two.
Dr Ben Diggles from DigsFish Services said the shellfish would benefit the Pumicestone Passage in several different ways.
"They're our natural filters, so they're helping improve water quality and also they're the base of the food chain," Dr Diggles said.
"All the little crabs and shrimp and things like that that are food for the fish all live in those reefs."
Dr Diggles said that those sorts reefs were currently struggling but could be recovered with the help of shellfish.
"At the moment the reefs are functionally extinct which means there's not enough in there to properly filter the water so you get that turbidity which reduces the sea grass growth and all that other stuff," he said.
"All it needs now is that little bit of intervention and these trials are quite encouraging in that if we go in there and do a little bit of intervention we can actually recover some of these reefs."
Mayor Allan Sutherland was also hopeful that the trial would have a positive impact on the waterway.
"It's early days yet for the trial, but if successful there are predictions shellfish could help to accelerate the gains we're already seeing in seagrass growth, water clarity and fish stocks for future generations," he said.
Dr Diggles said similar projects involving shellfish had been done in the US and Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne.
"This isn't a world first. It's a first for Pumicestone Passage but the Americans have been doing it for about 20 years," he said.
Mayor Sutherland said many locations had seen great improvements thanks to the shellfish.
"Projects in the US, New Zealand and Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay have shown it is possible to regenerate and re-establish shellfish reefs to improve ecosystem health."