Hawkesbury River Oysters Under the Microscope25 January 2013
AUSTRALIA - Testing by Department of Primary Industries (DPI) at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute has identified a disease associated with recent Pacific oyster mortalities in the Hawkesbury River.
This is the third time the disease has been detected in NSW. In late 2010 it was detected in the Georges River and shortly after in Sydney Harbour.
DPI Aquaculture Manager, Ian Lyall, said that consumers can still be confident in the quality of oysters in the market place.
“Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome only affects Pacific oysters. The Food Authority and NSW Health have confirmed the disease poses no risk to human health,” Mr Lyall said.
“All farmed oysters destined for sale are harvested under the stringent safeguards of the NSW Shellfish Program, administered by the NSW Food Authority.
“The DPI is working closely with local oyster growers to manage a closure that restricts the movements of any oysters and equipment to other estuaries.
“Hawkesbury River oyster farmers are working closely with international experts to mitigate the impact of this disease on their oyster crops.
“This disease has been associated with Pacific oyster mortalities previously in Europe, America, and most recently in New Zealand.
“Sydney rock oysters and native (flat) oysters are not affected by the disease and are safe to consume.”
Industry spokesperson, John Stubbs said growers promptly sent oysters for testing when they were first detected dying and immediately imposed restrictions on oyster movements within the Hawkesbury River.
The growers are working with DPI to manage the response to this disease.
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