Australian invention of Quilted Oyster Doonas brings versatility to shellfish restoration  


The Quilted Oyster Doona.

OzFish Unlimited continues to innovate the shellfish revolution with the upcoming trial of Quilted Oyster Doonas (QODs) set to bring an added layer of versatility to restoration projects.

Robbie Porter, OzFish’s Senior Special Projects Officer – Shellfish Revolution, who invented the QOD, said: “No one has ever done something like this before and we think it could be really useful.”

The home-grown invention uses a non-degrading, flexible gabion blanket that incorporates recycled oyster shells which can be securely attached to rock walls, eroding banks, and urbanised waterways, effectively transforming these structures into vibrant living seawalls.

They will be tested in the Nerang River in the coming months.

“Effectively they are stainless-steel chicken wire that we make an envelope out of and put shells inside it. To stop all the shells falling to one end we quilt the chicken wire, so the shells are spread out evenly, much like duck down in a doona,” Mr Porter explained.

OzFish will trial the doonas through a partnership with The Southport School (TSS) on the Gold Coast as part of the restoration trial.

The project should increase biodiversity and contribute to improved water filtration, bolstering fish numbers in the river.

One key aspect of their expected effectiveness lies in the use of recycled and sanitised oyster shells. The complex nature and chemical signature of these shells make them highly attractive to spat (baby oysters), or young shellfish, thereby serving as an ideal substrate for shellfish recruitment.

OzFish plans to mobilise its army of volunteers to make the QODs with councils and civil engineers expected  to use them in future projects.

“There will be a lot of hidey-holes for ambush predators. They’ll give lots of overhanging spaces for invertebrates like sponges, limpets, crabs and worms to hide in,” Mr Porter added.

This ambitious initiative has received funding from Queensland Fisheries through the Queensland Community Fishing Grants program, enabling OzFish to bring this innovative project to life.

It will also provide educational opportunities for students at TSS to learn about the importance of environmental stewardship and the role of shellfish in ecosystem health.

About OzFish

OzFish Unlimited is a national environmental conservation charity established to improve the health of our rivers, lakes and estuaries. It is a member-based organisation dedicated to make our fishing grounds healthy, vibrant and more productive. Their active work includes; habitat restoration such as resnagging, riverbank planting, clean-ups, fishways, shellfish reefs and educational and community capacity building programs.


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