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A new native shellfish reef will bring new life to the Gippsland Lakes as well as providing a boost of up to 25 local jobs and enhancing tourism and recreation.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said local rock material would be used to establish a new foundation for a shellfish reef in the Gippsland Lakes, before it is seeded with millions of Australian Flat oysters, as part of the Australian Government’s $20 million Reef Builder program.

“This will create a living reef attracting a diverse range of fish and aquatic life,” Minister Ley said.

“Gippsland Lakes is one of 13 sites across Australia where new shellfish reefs are being established to benefit the environment and local communities.

“Upon completion, the existing reef will be expanded by the size of about two and half football fields, creating spectacular dive sites and rejuvenating fish stocks.

“Restoring shellfish reef ecosystems here in the Gippsland Lakes will also improve the local marine ecosystem by providing food and shelter for many marine species.

“The Gippsland Lakes are recognised internationally as a Ramsar site for their significant environmental values.

“Protecting and enhancing these values underpins the recreational benefits of the lakes that so many Victorians enjoy, as well as economic values such as tourism and fishing that help support the economy of the Gippsland Region.”

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the reef would provide a wide range of benefits for the region.

“Shellfish reefs not only provide environmental benefits including a boost for coastal water quality, but also new opportunities for recreation and the local economy,” Mr Chester said.

“We are committed to preserving our environment in the Gippsland region and that’s exactly what this project is about. I can’t wait to see this marine ecosystem thriving once again.”

Construction will commence in March 2022.

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