Shellfish recycling centre the first step to restoring our waterways

Monday, 12 November, 2018

Shellfish recycling centre the first step to restoring our waterways

In an effort to restore Australia’s degraded waterways, improving habitats and fish numbers, not-for-profit organisation OzFish Unlimited has partnered with retailer BCF to launch the ‘Give Back to Habitat’ initiative, which kicked off last week with the opening of the Moreton Bay Shellfish Recycling Centre.

Millions of oysters are eaten in Australia each year, with the vast majority of discarded shells simply thrown into landfill sites and forgotten about. This means they’re just adding to the country’s garbage problem instead of playing a positive role in shellfish reef restoration.

OzFish’s new Shellfish Recycling Centre, donated by the Port of Brisbane and opened by Queensland’s Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner, aims to restore shellfish reefs to the Moreton Bay region. Placing used oyster shells in the waterways is scientifically proven to encourage live oysters to return to the area, which has the knock-on benefit of growing fish populations.

An adult oyster can filter between four and five litres of water every hour, meaning the restoration of shellfish reefs by OzFish will quickly make a demonstrable difference to the area’s water quality and fish populations. Shellfish recycling also has benefits for businesses, with one Brisbane-based seafood supplier having saved nearly $10,000 already by donating its used shells to OzFish rather than sending them to landfill.

Australia’s community of around three million recreational fishers is being encouraged to join OzFish or show support by donating to the initiative at one of BCF’s 130-plus stores across Australia. BCF customers have the option to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar, with the retailer donating all funds raised in its stores to OzFish.

“By working together and each doing a little, whether that be donating time or money, recreational fishers can help to restore Australia’s waterways,” said OzFish CEO and founder Craig Copeland. “Give Back to Habitat projects like this new Shellfish Recycling Centre are empowering fishers to play a role in restoring the environment and safeguarding their sport for future generations.

“What we’re doing here in Moreton Bay, which is just the start of a nationwide campaign, would not be possible without the dedication and support of our volunteers and partner organisations. I’d particularly like to thank BCF for their support and the national presence they give us.”

BCF Managing Director Anthony Heraghty underlined his company’s commitment to supporting the important work being done by OzFish across Australia.

“Australia possesses some of the world’s greatest outdoor spaces, and by encouraging people to restore and improve our waterways, we are helping to ensure it stays that way,” Heraghty said. “Every cent which is donated to OzFish at a BCF store will play its part in habit restoration and boosting fish numbers across Australia.”

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