News

SA's commercial oysters declared POMS-free

Friday 6 April 2018

Samples from all of South Australia’s commercial oyster growing areas have tested negative to the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) virus.


Peter Dietman, Acting Executive Director Fisheries and Aquaculture, Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), said these results will allow the lifting of the standstill on Pacific Oyster movement currently in place.

"These results are a welcomed 'all-clear' for our commercial oyster industry to return to normal operations," Mr Dietman said.

"PIRSA has been working closely with industry right from the start and, with growers' assistance, has achieved extensive surveillance and testing of oysters from multiple sites in each of our growing areas on Kangaroo Island, Yorke Peninsula, and the Eyre Peninsula as well as all oyster hatcheries.

"We are very pleased to be able to lift the statewide standstill prohibiting movement of oysters between growing sites, effective immediately, which together with our earlier lifting of prohibitions for hatcheries fully returns our $32 million oyster industry to business as usual.

"PIRSA will also be lifting the temporary commercial fishing ban near our Yorke Peninsula and Kangaroo Island growing areas.

"PIRSA will maintain its focus on addressing the feral oyster population in the Port River, which has already considerably reduced, and will continue a surveillance program with industry for early detection going forward.

"The water temperature will drop over the coming weeks and this will further mitigate the potential risk of the virus spreading outside of the Port River, as any remaining virus will likely become inactive.

"Boat operators and owners in the Port River area have been very supportive in taking all steps to reduce the risk of the virus spreading beyond the river, and PIRSA thanks them for that. Continued vigilance on best practice to keep hulls clean and reduce biofouling is important.

"We remind the public that removal of any bivalve shellfish such as oysters, mussels, cockles and Razorfish from the Port River area, including West Lakes, is still prohibited by law at this time.

"PIRSA will continue to work closely with the oyster industry in planning for any future commercial risks from the POMS virus."

Executive Officer of the SA Oyster Growers' Association, Trudy McGowan, said PIRSA's response to the detection of POMS in the Port River feral oyster population had been decisive and swift.

"Our growers have felt very supported, with clear and frequent updates from PIRSA," Ms McGowan said.

"Growers have been involved right from the start in gathering samples from their regions for testing, and distributing communications materials to let the community know what they can do to help stop the spread of aquatic diseases such as POMS.

"South Australia's oysters are delicious and safe to eat, and that has never been compromised during this incident. We encourage everyone to continue supporting our local industry and purchase local oysters – this autumn season is a terrific time to enjoy SA's oysters."

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Media Contacts

Celia Brissenden - Communications Manager, Regional Development, Fisheries & Aquaculture and Forestry
Email: celia.brissenden@sa.gov.au
Phone: 0477 359 248

Agriculture, Food & Wine, Biosecurity and SARDI
Email: pirsa.media@sa.gov.au
Phone: 0455 091 908


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