Conference Proceedings

The forgotten shellfish reefs of coastal Victoria:Documenting the loss of a marine ecosystem over 200 years since european settlement

JR Ford, P Hamer

Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria | Published : 2016

Abstract

Victoria has lost vast areas (>95%) of native flat oyster (Ostrea angasi, Sowerby 1871) and blue mussel (Mytilus edulis galloprovinicialis, Lamarck 1819) reefs from estuarine and coastal waters since European settlement. We document the decline of these reefs by examining indigenous use of shellfish, the decimation of oyster reefs by dredge fishing in early colonial days (1840s–1860s) and later removal of mussel reefs by the mussel and scallop dredging industry (1960s‒1990s). Review of current scientific information reveals no notable areas of continuous oyster reef in Victoria and we consider this habitat to be functionally extinct. While the large-scale removal and destructive fishing prac..

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