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Stewart Island oyster cull enters phase 2

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/06/2017

Around 40 tonnes of material has been culled from Stewart Island's Big Glory Bay to halt the spread of a parasite in flat oysters, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.

The cull comes after Bonamia ostreae, which isn't a food safety issue but can be fatal to the oysters, was found on two oyster farms.

Almost 400 cages have been removed this week and by the end of Friday around 40 tonnes would have been removed, bringing the overall total of removed material to around 80 tonnes.

MPI field headquarters manager Andrew Sander says progress has exceeded expectations.

The operation has run smoothly, and support from local iwi, oystermen, operators, farmers, councils, Environment Southland and community has been vital, he says.

The next phase is uplifting ropes and strings, MPI field headquarters manager Catherine MacGowan says.

"We met with farmers in Bluff and on Stewart Island this week to complete the planning for this stage and we hope to be able to start lifting ropes next week.

"The removal operation is a huge task and we are thankful for the support of the community and assistance from oyster farmers to make it happen."

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