OYSTER DISEASE CONFIRMED
20 March 2000
The Ministry of Fisheries confirmed today that a bed of oysters in the north west corner of the Foveaux Strait oyster fishery is infected with Bonamia. A significant proportion of oysters in the area sampled appear to have succumbed to the disease, and it is likely that more oysters in the area will die over the next month, until Bonamia becomes dormant later in autumn.
Bonamia is naturally present in New Zealand oysters, and the level of infection found in the bed appears to be lower than during the late 1980's when Bonamia decimated the Foveaux Strait oyster fishery. However, given the damage that Bonamia can inflict on the fishery, any outbreak is a cause for concern.
Over the next week more intensive sampling of the bed will be carried out to map the extent of the outbreak. This survey should provide more information on whether the outbreak is likely to spread and allow the Ministry of Fisheries, NIWA and the Bluff Oyster Management Company to evaluate any management response required to contain the outbreak.
In the meantime, the oyster fleet has been instructed to stay away from the affected area to ensure Bonamia is not spread to other beds. Other beds are unaffected by the disease and no human health risk is associated with outbreak.
Contact for enquiries:
Allen Frazer, Policy Analyst
Ministry of Fisheries
ph 025 350 379 or 03 474 0333
fax 03 477 6275