Monday, November 27, 2006

Asian Oyster Concerns Grow

In what will hopefully be remembered as an unfortunate Ehrlich administration initiative that will never see the light of day (along with the ICC, selling off public lands, and several others), the proposed introduction of Asian oysters (Crassostrea ariakensis) has run in to additional roadblocks. It turns out that a particular parasite, Bonamia, could cause "almost total mortality" to the exotic oyster. Bonamia is not currently in the Chesapeake Bay, but it was found in 60 percent of the Asian oysters introduced in North Carolina's Bogue Sound.

Also of concern is that the Asian oyster and native oyster both spawn at the same time, a factor that could cause reductions in breeding for both species.

All of this comes on the heels of an announcement by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science that there are pockets of native oysters which seem to be building an immunity to the diseases decimating local populations, Dermo and MSX. Many of these disease-resistant oysters are in sanctuaries that are under pressure to open to harvesting, a move that could be catastrophic to the future of the species.



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