Major oyster farm crippled by parasite

A bluff oyster farmer says he will have to destroy 15 million oysters after a parasite was discovered on his farms.

Rodney Clark is one of many farmers who are concerned with the Ministry of Primary Industries for what some say is a lack of support being offered.

He runs New Zealand's Bluff Oyster Company near Stewart Island, one of the biggest flat oyster operations in the country.

But the discovery of the parasite bonamia in Big Glory Bay farms is set to cripple the business - and dash plans for a massive expansion.

He told Newshub that their "oyster operation has effectively ended".

Clark was one of several oyster company bosses who met with Ministry Of Primary Industry officials today.

Farmers say they've been left to organise the removal of huge amounts of Oyster stocks by themselves.

Mr Clark estimates work could take months - unless MPI offers more support.

"It's way too big for us individual farmers...that's what we've all come to the realisation... we need help," he said. 

The latest threat to the oyster industry comes two years after MPI decided not to remove Marborough farms when a similar outbreak occured.

Farmers will be able to apply for compensation under the Biosecurity Act, but for many - that possible financial relief will come too late.


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