22 March 2018

Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA) advises that the Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) virus was detected in feral Pacific Oyster populations in the Port River in Adelaide on 28 February 2018.

The virus is yet to be found in the commercial oyster farming areas of South Australia.

The detection in the Port River does, however, represent a substantially heightened risk to South Australia’s $32 million oyster growing industry. This is due to the risk of the virus mixing in ballast water and of infected shellfish attaching to biofouling on vessel hulls that are then moved around the state.

Fishers and boat operators can help stop the spread of POMS by taking precautionary steps, including:

Ballast water maintenance

Avoid uptake of ballast within the Port River and avoid discharging/exchanging ballast water in oyster growing regions in South Australia, and wherever possible follow the ballast water requirements on the Agriculture Department website.

Clean Hulls

Vessel owners can also help by having good vessel cleaning practices in place. This minimises biofouling and therefore greatly reduces the chance that shellfish carrying the POMS virus can attach to your vessel.

Do not deposit any Pacific Oysters in state waters

Do not place or discard live or dead oysters (including the shells) or other seafood into SA waters.

There currently are import restrictions on bringing oysters into South Australia.

For further information please contact Dr Shane Roberts, Aquatic Animal Health Officer by email Shane.Roberts@sa.gov.au, phone (08) 8429 0505, or refer to PIRSA’s Biofouling and Ballast Water or Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome pages.