Bluff hears latest details on oyster parasite

PHOTO: LAURA SMITH
PHOTO: LAURA SMITH
People in Bluff last night got to hear the latest information on the recent discovery of an oyster-killing parasite in the Foveaux Strait.

Representatives from the Ministry for Primary Industries and Biosecurity New Zealand provided an overview of the history of Bonamia ostreae, the testing they had done and what the next steps were.

The parasite is capable of increasing mortality in oysters but little is known on how it can affect a wild population.

Three wild oysters were found infected in March, but no further positive tests had been returned since then.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research scientist Keith Michael said while infection had been found, it was at very low levels.

"For the present, the situation is as good as we can hope it to be."

While there was no increased mortality found at the site where the three oysters were found, it was not easy to tell if there would be future problems.

The next steps would be for a technical advisory group to be established, and ongoing testing and planning.

Another community meeting will be held at the Stewart Island Community Centre at 11am today.

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