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Endangered oysters find a new home!

The Southern Hemisphere’s largest reef restoration project has reached an important milestone with the seeding of more than 50,000 endangered Australian flat oysters.

The Windara Reef project is being led by The Nature Conservancy in the waters of Gulf St Vincent in South Australia.

It consists of 150 artificial reefs spanning 20ha about 1km off the coast of Ardrossan on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula. The reefs were sunk in 2017 and 2018 and the first 30,000 mature native oysters were seeded in January 2018.

The native oysters (Ostrea angasi) seeded this week are eight months old, about the size of an egg yolk and have been supplied by the South Australian Research and Development Institute.

Another deployment of native oysters will take place on the reef later this year with the goal of boosting their numbers to more than 7 million in the 20ha zone.

The juvenile oysters are likely to begin producing their spat (offspring) when they reach three years old. It is expected take seven years to create a fully functioning, self-sustaining reef.

However, early testing just six months after the first 30,000 oysters were seeded last year found the oysters to be su