Since the first stage of reefs were installed in December 2017, initial results look promising.
A University of Sunshine Coast (USC) study released in late 2018 found fish abundance, species richness and harvestable fish numbers had doubled since the installation. The potato starch matrix reefs appear to be the most successful installation so far, with the study finding the potato starch reefs are consistently surrounded by a higher average diversity and abundance of fish when compared to nearby control sites.
The study found evidence of prolific colonisation by corraline algae and soft corals, which helped cement the loose shells together into a reef formation. Most excitingly, fish distributions across lower Pumicestone Passage have expanded slightly since the installations, and some species have moved closer to the reef areas.
However, much more data is needed before an accurate conclusion can be formed regarding the success of the artificial reef installations. Ongoing research by USC is analysing the broad effects of the trial and taking into account major seasonal variations that could impact the findings.