Marine Institute

Marine Institute holds Pacific Oyster Health Meeting

March 4, 2019

Kelly's Oyster Farm, Killenaran County Galway. Photographer Fionn O'Fearghail, Marine InstituteThe Marine Institute's Fish Health Unit recently held a meeting on Pacific Oyster Health, presenting the latest research and knowledge on oyster diseases.

The event attracted more than 80 participants from Ireland's oyster farming industry, as well as representatives from Ireland's Seafood Development Agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara.

Presentations focused on mortality, disease management and current national and international research in oyster health. Oyster mortalities in recent years in Ireland have been mainly associated with either Ostreid herpes virus-1 μVar (OsHV-1 μVar) infection or the bacterium Vibrio aestuarianus. Both diseases cause significant oyster mortality events and an economic loss to oyster farmers and producers.

Researchers from the Marine Institute and the University of College Cork presented the major findings from the RESPOSUS project, funded by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine's FIRM programme. The three year REPOSUS project focused on reducing the impact of pathogens associated with mortalities in Pacific oysters. This included results from sentinel trials in disease impacted bays, molecular and pathogenicity characterisation studies on isolates of OsHV-1 and rache and studies on environmental parameters which influence mortality.

French Institute IFREMER also presented the latest results from the VIVALDI project (Preventing and Migrating Farmed Bivalve Diseases) funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. VIVALDI combines European research resources to better understand shellfish diseases and improve the sustainability and competitiveness of the European shellfish industry. The Marine Institute is one of 21 partners involved in this research project.

Industry representatives from Ireland also shared their experience of managing losses in shellfish production due to oyster disease and mortality on their sites. This feedback, along with research presented, will be used to update the current best practice guide for disease control and management in Ireland's oyster industry.