Standard Presentation (15 mins) Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Reef Builder: A bold plan to recover Australia's critically endangered shellfish reef ecosystems. (#42)

Simon Branigan 1 , Chris Gillies 1 , Simon Reeves 1 , Craig Bohm 1 , Andrew Bossie 1 , Scott Breschkin 1 , Richard Campbell 1 , Megan Connell 1 , Kirk Dahle 1 , Brett Dal Pozzo 1 , Andrew Dunlop 1 , Theo Kearing 1 , Francisco Martinez Baena 1 , Anita Nedosyko 1 , Tania Sincock 1 , Fiona Valesini 1
  1. The Nature Conversancy Australia, Carlton South, VIC, Australia

The Nature Conservancy (TNC), in partnership with governments, businesses and the community, is leading Australia’s largest marine restoration initiative, Reef Builder, to bring shellfish reef ecosystems back from the brink of extinction for the benefit of both people and nature. Since 2021, the Reef Builder project, are aiming to protect and restore shellfish reefs at 13 locations across Australia. In 2014, TNC began an Australian-first initiative to restore shellfish reefs at impactful scales in areas where people need them most – the populated bays and estuaries across southern Australia. After seven years of demonstrated success, the Reef Builder project is now well underway with several reefs already restored across Australia. Aside of the numerous ecosystem services that these shellfish reefs provide, rebuilding shellfish reefs also provide many socio-economic benefits. Rebuilding these reefs will help grow Australia’s ‘blue economy’ by providing a variety of coastal jobs in regional areas and sustaining marine-dependant industries like fisheries, aquaculture, retail, ecotourism and recreation. This presentation will provide an overview of what we have done, the services that these reefs are already producing and how we are approaching this bold initiative to rapidly expand the restoration and protection of valuable shellfish reef ecosystems in Australia.