There are concerns the iconic Bluff oyster could be decimated by a parasite discovered on Stewart Island.
Bonamia ostreae has been detected at two Stewart Island oyster farms, and the Ministry for Primary Industries has put restrictions on the area to limit further spread. The Ministry has been meeting with industry members in Southland and is considering pulling up the shellfish in Stewart Island’s Big Glory Bay in an attempt to stop the parasite’s spread.
While there are no food safety issues from eating oysters infected with B. ostreae, it does have a high fatality rate among infected oysters. Those in the industry are concerned the parasite could spread to wild populations in Foveaux Strait.
MPI is expected to make a decision today about whether to pull up the oyster farms in Big Glory Bay.
The parasite detection has been widely covered by local media, including:
Radio NZ: Plea to sacrifice farmed oysters to save Bluff’s iconic shellfish
Newshub: Parasite threatens Bluff Oyster population
Stuff.co.nz: Iconic Bluff oysters could be lost after parasite discovered on Stewart Island
Stuff.co.nz: Seven questions about the oyster parasite Bonamia ostreae
Otago Daily Times: Parasite risk to oyster industry
Radio NZ: Bluff oyster fishermen urge action to keep parasite at bay
Newstalk ZB: Bluff Oysters in danger from fatal parasite
Stuff.co.nz: Stewart Island waters ‘in lockdown’ until MPI announcement
Radio NZ: MPI decision on infected oyster farms imminent
Southland Times: Get those oysters out of there
Otago Daily Times: Ministry slammed for inaction over oysters
TVNZ: Urgent call goes out for government to speed up response to devastating parasite in some Stewart Island oysters