[1 June/ Radio NZ]

Bonamia ostreae, a parasite lethal to oysters, has appeared on two Stewart Island oyster farms. The strain first appeared in Marlborough Sounds two years ago, and a related strain of the parasite destroyed the Bluff oyster industry in the early 1990s and early 2000s. Ministry for Primary Industries Biosecurity Surveillance Manager Brendan Gould said there was concern that the parasite might spread to wild Bluff oysters in Foveaux Strait. Mr Gould said eradication is impossible, and instead focus is on stopping the parasite from spreading. The Ministry has placed controlled area notices to limit movement of flat oysters. Aquaculture Manager at the Cawthron Institute, Serean Adams, said the institute was well placed to respond to the parasite and is creating a research strategy document for the New Zealand flat oyster aquaculture industry.