John Lindsay tips his livelihood into the Kalang River. The arrival of QX disease has decimated about 100,000 dozen oysters – it kills them by starving them to death.
John Lindsay tips his livelihood into the Kalang River. The arrival of QX disease has decimated about 100,000 dozen oysters – it kills them by starving them to death. Ute Schulenberg

Deadly oyster disease a heartbreak

OYSTER farmer John Lindsay is still in shock as the latest blow to his business sinks in.

Having managed to stay optimistic through seven floods and the closure of the Kalang River when it became contaminated with norovirus, the arrival of deadly QX disease is heart-breaking.

“The QX is a parasite that gets into the gut of the oyster, causing them to starve to death,” Mr Lindsay said.

“Worst case scenario is a 100% mortality rate. The whole river could be finished to Sydney rock oysters.”

Mr Lindsay said alarm bells began ringing a few weeks ago when he noticed higher than normal stock losses.

“Five to 10% is not unusual but we were seeing 30%. I thought water quality would be the problem but the test results came back with QX. It’s confusing because the wild oysters seem to be fine.”

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has quarantined the movement of oysters to other estuaries.



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