Researchers Transform Oyster Shells into Artificial Reefs | Be Korea-savvy

Researchers Transform Oyster Shells into Artificial Reefs

An artificial reef. (image: Korea Fisheries Resources Agency)

An artificial reef. (image: Korea Fisheries Resources Agency)

SEOUL, April 10 (Korea Bizwire)The Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology (KIOST) will develop and commercialize a technology to produce eco-friendly marine ecological blocks used to create artificial fishing banks, with oyster shells.

KIOST said Thursday that it has established the Korea Marine Ecology Block, a research institute, in a joint venture with a local lime fertilizer manufacturer.

Developed by the institute, the eco-friendly marine ecological block is made of eco-friendly marine bio cement with more than 50 percent oyster shell powder plus special materials favored by algae and fish.

The surface is then treated with a corrosive soil coating material containing amino acids and organic ingredients.

The coating also plays a major role in creating an underwater ecosystem by proliferating plankton and helping microbes and others attach them to aquatic plants.

The substance can also be applied to existing concrete reef surfaces, which has the effect of neutralizing harmful ingredients such as ammonia from concrete as well as strong alkalinity.

Existing artificial reefs and sea forests are usually made of concrete blocks.

Concrete has problems that cause “efflorescence” with strong alkaline materials and cause toxic substances to leak, making it difficult to multiply water plants and algae.

South Korea’s marine ecological block market is expected to grow 3.7 percent annually to reach 83.3 billion won (US$68.5 million) in 2024 from 69.6 billion won in 2019.

It is expected that the commercialization of eco-friendly ecological blocks will greatly reduce the amount of oyster shells that cause environmental pollution by limiting the amount discarded every year.

According to a report by the Korea Maritime Institute, the country’s oyster production stood at 340,000 tons as of 2018, with 280,000 tons of shells being discarded.

Among the waste shells, only some will be recycled into agricultural soil improvement agents, lime fertilizers and industrial raw materials, while the rest will be treated as industrial waste or left unattended.

Shells left unattended have exposed many problems such as polluting coastal fishing grounds and damaging the natural landscape by generating a bad smell.

“If we commercialize the technology to recycle oyster shells, we can expect the effect of killing two birds with one stone to solve the problem of marine waste and activate the circulating system of fisheries resources,” a KIOST official said,

D. M. Park (

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