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Oyster farms' international reputation endangered

Oyster farmers’ international reputation endangered by sewage spill says NZ Seafood Industry Council

2 March 2006

It is unacceptable that oyster farmers in Northland have again ‘lost out’ after authorities failed to notify them of a raw sewage spill in mid February says New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Chief Executive Owen Symmans.

“A simple notification process was not followed and consequently oyster farmers will lose up to $2000 a week in income by the enforced closures to protect public health. Some farmers have already fielded calls from overseas customers worried about the safety of the product.”

Mr Symmans says that the industry is very committed to ensuring that product is of high quality and safe for consumption, but this is impossible and expensive when basic procedures are not followed.

“The ineptitude of the responsible council has resulted in a grave and unnecessary health risk with a high cost to the local oyster farmers. It’s not just the loss of immediate income, but where customers could potentially suffer from the slow reactions of the council, the long term income of the business and the industry is seriously at risk.”

Farmers can justifiably ask the Council for compensation for losses incurred, Mr Symmans said.

ENDS


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