Project Update: Craybies!

Sydney Kelp Restoration with Operation Crayweed and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science

We’re thrilled to share a project update we received from our planting partners across the pond! Over the last two years, we have been working with Operation Crayweed and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science to bring back the once thriving crayweed forests along Australia’s south east coast. 

Crayweed, a brown macroalga (or kelp) native to southeastern Australia, plays a crucial role in shaping underwater ecosystems on rocky reefs. However, during the 1970s-1980s, crayweed forests faced local extinction along Sydney's coastline due to compromised water quality from onshore sewage outfalls.

When crayweed didn't return after the NSW State Government's efforts to improve water quality in the 1990s, scientists began exploring the challenges posed by crayweed's reproduction mechanisms - leading to projects like this one.

The persistence of crayweed populations in Sydney, coupled with their unique biodiversity, particularly in supporting species crucial to Australia's wild fisheries (like rock lobster and abalone) sparked interest in restoring these ecosystems. This restoration not only holds ecological significance but also promises additional benefits compared to other underwater habitats, making it a valuable initiative for preserving and enhancing marine life along the Sydney coastline.

So far, over 500 crayweed SeaTees have been planted on the iconic Bondi Beach reefs since October 2022, with local Boardriders staff, volunteers, and athletes Tom Carroll and Laura Enever.

And while post-planting monitoring surveys in May and August 2023 did not reveal any "craybies" (aka young crayweed recruits), we're excited to hear that there are now over 70 craybies at our restoration site now! 

Additional crayweed plants have been introduced, and a substantial planting event is scheduled for autumn/early winter 2024, aiming to strengthen crayweed establishment and facilitate successful recruitment by the end of the year.

We can’t wait to update you on the progress of this project as planting continues! Thank you for your support - we couldn’t do it without you.

If you’re interested in learning more about this project, check out this film! And if you want to restore your own craybies - plant your first sq-ft here!