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Southern oyster fisheries miss out

Sarah Dowie - MP for Invercargill

18 June 2019

Oyster fisheries in the deep south will be disappointed that Budget 2019 has cut funding for the biosecurity response to Bonamia ostreae, a parasite that can be fatal for flat oysters, National’s Conservation spokesperson Sarah Dowie says.

“Bonamia ostreae was first detected in the Marlborough Sounds in 2015, and subsequently discovered in Stewart Island’s oyster farms two years later.

“Whilst in Opposition, Members of the current Government criticised the National Government’s handling of the response, despite National boosting biosecurity funding by $18.4 million, taking it to a record high of just under a quarter of a billion dollars.

“This money went towards the establishment of an enhanced national surveillance plan for the parasite, with MPI surveying the Foveaux Strait flat oysters every three months, or monthly in particularly high risk areas.

“While optimism about the state of the industry might have returned for some, Minister for Biosecurity Damian O’Connor seems to have forgotten that there are still many concerned about the disease appearing again.

“Our oyster fisheries are world famous for good reason, and funding to monitor them needs to be prioritised.”


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