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Dermo weakens shellfish market

US This summer, the effects of last falls Dermo outbreak are being seen.

Cultch at Indian Neck

Dermo, or Perkinsus marinus, is a waterborne parasite that devastated shellfishing grants in Wellfleet last fall, while affecting other areas of the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard to lesser degrees.

Andy Koch, Wellfleet shellfish constable, says the disease is particularly demoralizing to shellfishermen because it kills the oyster just as the animal reaches its 3-inch legal harvest size.

Maps provided by Barnstable County’s Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and the Southeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center (SEMAC) show that for oysters spawned in 2005 and sampled in fall 2006, Dermo was found in 100 percent of Wellfleet oysters at an intensity of 3 to 4 on a scale of 0 to 5 (a measure of how badly they had it on average). These figures are the highest in the county.

Source: Provincetown Banner