Monday, August 22, 2016

18/08/2016: Current POMS-free situation in South Australia

A recent report has suggested that it is not a case of if South Australia will be hit by Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS), but rather, when. 

This is according to the president of Australia’s peak oyster industry body speaking in a recent article by Brooke Neindorf on ABC Rural.

Bruce Zippel is also an oyster grower at Smoky Bay on the far west coast of South Australia, and said the state had learnt a lot since POMS was found in Tasmania earlier this year.

South Australia has so far remained POMS-free. Mr Zippel is urging South Australian growers to continue supporting genetic selection programs to help prevent the spread of the deadly oyster disease.
Image: Larry Hoffman

He said it was only a matter of time before POMS arrived in the state, so the industry needed to remain focused on resistant oyster varieties. "I believe we definitely have the right conditions in South Australia," Mr Zippel said.

"I have studied this virus within this state and country and overseas, and spoken to international people as well.”

"It will affect South Australia when it gets here at some point, so I think the importance of the genetics program cannot be underestimated." Mr Zippel said POMS-resistant oyster varieties were an important line of defence, but admitted an outbreak was still likely in the future.

"It is probably 95 percent of the answer," he said. "For example, if the whole South Australian industry used these oysters, then the likelihood of it having an effect in South Australia is even lessened more, because your viral loading in the marine environment gets less.

"The more oysters that are susceptible to this, the greater the viral loading, and if you have enormous viral loading in the marine environment, it can swamp even the resistant oysters."

Industry has had opportunity to prepare Mr Zippel said South Australia had learnt from the Tasmanian experience of POMS, which would help it prepare better for an outbreak.
Read more HERE.

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