No sign of Bonamia in New Zealand wild oysters: ministry

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-31 18:14:37|Editor: ying
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WELLINGTON, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) -- The latest testing of New Zealand's Bluff wild oyster fishery showed no sign of Bonamia ostreae, an invasive parasite, said a statement of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on Tuesday.

The testing was part of MPI's surveillance program for the invasive parasite, MPI Director of Readiness and Response Geoff Gwyn said in the statement.

"This is great news for the local industry and everyone involved in the response," said Gwyn, adding that the results suggest the removal of farmed oysters from Big Glory Bay and Marlborough was "the right thing to do in terms of reducing risk of the parasite spreading to the wild oyster populations."

Bonamia ostreae was discovered in Stewart Island waters in May, resulting in MPI's decision to remove all farmed flat oysters in Big Glory Bay and Marlborough to prevent further spread, the statement said.

The latest surveillance round targeted wild flat oyster fisheries throughout New Zealand, including areas that had not been surveyed before, it said, adding that no sign of the parasite was discovered in any of the areas.

"Continued surveillance will ensure the ministry can move quickly if a new infection appears in the future," Gwyn said.

The MPI has increased its surveillance frequency of the Foveaux Strait fisheries from six to three months, and the next round is scheduled for December and January, he said.

Bonamia ostreae can be fatal for flat oysters, and it has been in New Zealand since at least 2015, when it was detected in the Marlborough Sounds and Nelson, according to the MPI.

The MPI and Stewart Island farmers completed the removal of oyster lines from Big Glory Bay early September, and removal operations in Marlborough are continuing, the ministry said.