[Australia] Tasmania’s oyster industry has suffered yet another setback just days after flood-affected growing areas were reopened.
A biotoxin scare stemming from an algal bloom has forced the closure of oyster farms in the Little Swanport region on the state’s east coast.
It comes after the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) virus decimated the sector earlier this year and heavy flooding in the recent storms contaminated growing areas, forcing farmers to wait for tests to confirm when they could resume harvesting for public consumption.
Blackman Bay farms at Dunalley reopened yesterday and the Georges Bay area was expected to be reopened by the end of the week.
Oysters Tasmania will hold a series of meetings with growers this week and next week to discuss the most recent setback and the year’s events.
President Neil Stump said the floods alone had caused “a severe disruption” to the farming activities and the industry continued to be under “a fair amount of stress”.
“What we’re seeing is a contraction, with a lot of areas in a contraction in the period they’re able to put product on the market,” he said.
“Particularly on the east coast, we’ve been used to being able to market the product for nine or ten months of the year at least, but due to these numerous events over the last six to eight months, even 12 months, that period has shortened.
POMS virus still weighs on growers
Mr Stump said it was hard to predict when Little Swanport would be reopened.
“These algal blooms seem to sort of come and go, and at this stage there seems to be very little rhyme and reason as to why that occurs,” he said.
He said the POMS virus continued to put additional pressure on growers, with many areas of leases not touched while others were decimated.
“It’s been a really inconsistent pattern associated with this disease,” he said.
A public health warning is current for shellfish from much of Tasmania’s east and south coast, due to algal blooms.
The Department of Health said unsafe toxin levels were detected in June in Great Oyster Bay, at Little Swanport.
View original article at: Tasmanian oyster growers take another hit as biotoxin scare forces closures