[19 June/ Stuff Business]
The Ministry for Primary Industries has started to remove flat oysters from Big Glory Bay on Stewart Island as part of a programme to prevent the spread of the parasite Bonamia Ostraeae. The goal of the cull is to prevent the spread of the parasite to the Foveaux Strait wild fisheries which could potentially decimate the iconic bluff oyster. The key question which has yet to be answered is how the parasite got to Big Glory Bay in the first place and this needs to be addressed to ensure that the wild fisheries are protected long term. Some of the farmers in the area are questioning whether they will have a future as they are likely to lose millions of oysters, all of which have to be destroyed despite the parasite not being harmful to humans. Seafood company, Sanford, owned some of the first oysters to be pulled up by MPI. Sanford Corporate Communications Manager, Fiona MacMillan, said the process had gone fairly well and while the company was disappointed to lose the oysters it would have a minimal impact on the business.