Oyster die-off in Western Australia – June 2007
Oyster deaths remain a mystery
Posted June 21, 2007 13:23:00
The cause of a large number of oyster deaths that plagued Western Australia’s pearling industry remains a mystery, despite months of tests by researchers.
The Department of Fisheries has studied 7,000 oysters from pearl farms and carried out 800 tests looking for disease.
The investigation was launched after a large number of deaths at nine farms in the Exmouth Gulf, in the state’s north-west, in October last year.
Principal fish pathologist Brian Jones says the tests have not identified a cause for the deaths.
But Dr Jones says surveys of wild stock in the 80 Mile Beach area have had positive results.
“The department has been using their own staff to do drift dive surveys of the 80 Mile Beach and the main pearling grounds, looking for any signs of dead or dying pearl oysters,” he said.
“We found no sign at all of any unusual mortalities.”