IMAS takes on POMS threat
Scientists are working with oyster farmers to reduce the impact of a likely outbreak of Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome this summer. Last year's outbreak has caused an impending oyster shortage this festive season and signs of the virus are expected to emerge again when water temperatures consistently reach 18C, most likely later in December. The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science has a research team working with growers on ways of reducing mortality in POMS-affected areas through husbandry and farm-management adjustments affecting oyster size and age, handling, stocking densities, positioning of oysters in the water column, and the cooling of oysters. Dr Sarah Ugalde said: “Mechanical grading is quicker, but much more stressful for the oyster compared to grading by hand and this may make them more susceptible to the virus.” POMS was first detected in Tasmanian waters in January 2016 and spread to five growing areas — Little Swanport, Blackman Bay, Pittwater, and Pipe Clay Lagoon — causing widespread oyster deaths that resulted in financial stress and job losses among oyster growers.
5 December 2017, Edition 190