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Disease wipes out oyster beds

Salmonids Freshwater fish +1 more

NOVA SCOTIA - An oyster grower says the discovery of Malepeque disease on one of his aquaculture farms in the Bras dOr Lakes near Orangedale could put him out of business.

Bill MacLean says the disease has already killed 90 per cent of the oysters on the one farm where it was found and, depending on its spread, is a threat to his other nearby leases.

“It is really an awful shock,” MacLean said Monday.

MacLean said he has already lost tens of thousands of dollars worth of oysters.

He grows his own oysters on four leases at Alba Oyster Farms and buys oysters from local leaseholders and fishermen for his small processing facility.

MacLean has been trying to harvest all of the oysters he can from the one farm where the disease was discovered, hoping to keep it from spreading to his other three leases.

Nova Scotia Fisheries officials will probably want to wipe the infected farm out if they find it is the only one hit by the disease, he suggested.

“If it’s already spread, that’s not going to work.”

Malepeque disease, which has been discovered in the Orangedale area of the Bras d’Or Lakes and St. Ann’s Harbour, can destroy oyster beds but there are no human health concerns, according to the Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

Source: Nova Scotia Business Journal