Kalang oysters off the menu this Christmas

THERE won't be any Kalang River oysters on Christmas menus this year and oyster grower John Lindsay is furious.

Mr Lindsay said growers were devastated having to watch $1million worth of oysters and years of work sitting in trays.

“We can't harvest, we can't sell, we can't move any young stock,” Mr Lindsay said.

“And we can't get anyone to work fast enough to solve the problem.

“I still have to employ people to run my leases, we can't let them run down but without a harvest it's hard to survive.

“Some of the other growers have already had to get other jobs.”

The Kalang River was closed to oyster harvesting in July after the detection of norovirus in stock. The virus is the most common cause of nonbacterial gastrointestinal illness and linked to human faecal contamination.

Mr Lindsay said he was particularly frustrated with the Bellingen Shire Council, claiming it was not monitoring on-site sewerage systems properly.

Last Thursday results of the most recent tests showed the virus was present in all six Kalang River commercial leases however the possible source has yet to be located.

According to John Williams, chairman and spokesperson of the working group looking into the contamination, the council had done all that had been requested of it, agreeing to undertake all investigations suggested by the group.

“I think it is unfortunate for the council to be singled out for criticism,” Mr Williams said.

He said investigations were still in their early phases and the finding that all the leases had been infected had challenged some of the earlier assumptions about possible sources.

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