Marine Estate Management Authority


This survey is an important activity under the NSW DPI (Fisheries) Oyster Reef Restoration project. The project is a key action under the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy. This 10 year Strategy aims to assist the NSW Government in achieving its broad vision for the NSW marine estate: A healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest wellbeing of the community, now and into the future.

Oyster reefs (or oyster beds) are complex, intertidal or subtidal three-dimensional structures which are formed largely from aggregations of living oysters and old shell (cultch). Oyster reefs occur in two main forms on soft sediments or rocky areas; as low-profile beds or as high-profile reefs. Native reef-forming oyster species in NSW include Sydney Rock Oyster (Saccostrea glomerata), Angasi Oyster (Ostrea angasi), Leaf Oyster (Isognomon ephippium) and Pearl Oyster (Pinctada albina sugillata).

Oyster reefs are a distinct ecological community which provides a wide range of free benefits to coastal communities including supporting many other marine creatures such as other molluscs, crustaceans and recreational and commercial fish species. Oyster reefs protect shorelines by buffering wave energy; promoting the growth of other marine habitats such as seagrass beds and saltmarshes. Oyster reefs also provide critical water filtration services; improving water clarity which supports the growth of aquatic vegetation such as seagrass. However, studies have shown that up to 98% of historical (pre-European) oyster reefs have been lost and in most places oyster reef is considered functionally extinct as a habitat type, meaning those free benefits are also lost.

Please see examples of different oyster reefs which still occur in NSW waters today on the next page.
Thank you for agreeing to take part in this important survey. Your ideas and input will help us plan for Oyster Reef Restoration across the state.
We are aiming to:

· Gauge the NSW Oyster Industry’s knowledge of natural oyster reefs and Oyster Reef Restoration; and

· Determine the level of NSW Oyster Industry support for future Oyster Reef Restoration projects in NSW.

The survey only takes 8-10 minutes to complete. We value your input and appreciate that information you provide may be of a private or personal nature. The details of the comments and feedback provided in the survey will be confidential. At no time will information collected as part of the process be used to identify you publicly. Information will be securely stored by NSW DPI, and individual responses will not be disclosed to third parties.

If you have any questions about this survey or technical issues please contact:

Charlotte Jenkins via email at or phone 02 6620 9319 or 0407 154 320
Jillian Keating via email at or phone 02 4478 9104 or 0427 129 506

Please feel free to pass on our contact details to anyone else you think we should talk to about oyster reefs.