A New Zealand research institute is sending 50,000 specially bred oysters out to aquaculture farms around the country this month in a bid to beat the virus which has devastated the industry.
Since 2011 the Cawthron Institute has been working to create a virus-resistant oyster by cross-breeding families with the best survival rates from previous years.
“We will find out for the first time in March/April whether the oysters we’ve sired using our best families carry that improved survival into the next generation,” Cawthron’s Cultured Shellfish programme leader Nick King said.
If the oysters have passed their increased resistance on, then the institute will be “onto something special” and will be even more confident that the breeding programme will enable the industry to keep ahead of the virus, King said.
”It’s all about compounding those good, healthy traits so eventually we end up with virus resilient oysters,” King said.