Research program

There is a research program for POMS in Australia. It has two major components:

  1. Developing genetically resistant oysters, managed by the Seafood CRC. This is a long term approach.
  2.  Understanding the biology and behaviour of the disease in order to develop control strategies, managed by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. The information in this blog has been provided as part of this FRDC research program.

In addition to these programs it is recommended that a national survey for OsHV-1 be undertaken urgently. Such a survey was completed in 2011 and the virus was at that time restricted to Port Jackson and Georges River/Botany Bay, New South Wales.  Given that the virus may spread and not cause mortality for some time, it is important to have current information on its distribution.

We have commenced new field trials in the Hawkesbury River as follows:

1. Window of infection trial. Spat supplied from the Shellfish Culture hatchery in Tasmania (~ 2.5 mm length) are being placed at 5 different sites in the Hawkesbury River every 2 weeks to identify the period over which the virus is active. When it is confirmed that the river is safe for spat, a commercial quantity will be trialled to determine growth potential during winter, and the ability of these oysters to survive when grown at high height during the following summer season.  

2. Safe spat rearing trial. Planning has begun to attempt to condition and maintain spat in on-shore aquaculture systems using water from the Hawkesbury River, during the danger period. This is necessary because it is likely that the virus will continue to spread in Australia and within a few years there may be no safe estuaries in which to rear spat.

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