Scottish shellfish farm production survey 2017

This report is based on the returns of an annual survey questionnaire sent to all active authorised shellfish farming businesses in Scotland.

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Health Influences on the Industry

In accordance with Council Directive 2006/88/ EC, a risk based surveillance programme targeting 81 shellfish site inspections was undertaken during 2017. On these visits, facilities, stock health, bio-security measures plans, movement records and details required for authorisation were checked. Movement restrictions placed due to confirmation of the presence of Bonamia ostrea, remained in force in Loch Sunart and in West Loch Tarbert, Argyll during 2017. These movement restrictions covering both sea lochs prevent the relaying of native oyster from them ( see Appendix 3 for maps of areas under movement restrictions). Approved zone status for bonamiasis, marteiliasis and Ostreid Herpes Virus-1 Microvariant ( OsHV-1 µvar) continued to protect the health of both wild and farmed susceptible shellfish stocks for the remainder of Scotland's waters.

Most of the reported mortalities during 2017 were attributed to: predation from wild ducks, starfish, sea urchins, crabs and oyster catchers; fouling by sea squirts; adverse weather conditions including storms and temperature extremes; damage due to grading and handling and from natural causes. Reports of high, unexplained shellfish mortalities generated three shellfish diagnostic cases during 2017, at sites holding Pacific oysters and mussels. Results of diagnostic investigations showed no association with listed (notifiable) diseases. It is the responsibility of shellfish farmers to inform Marine Scotland of any abnormal or unexplained shellfish mortality on their sites ( see guidance on shellfish mortality in Appendix 1).

In 2017 there was a continued demand for imported mussel and Pacific oyster spat in Scotland. The industry should be aware of the increased disease risk with the introduction, movement and deposit of stock on site and the importance of ensuring good bio-security practices when sourcing shellfish from other areas. In addition consignments imported from outside Great Britain require to be accompanied by a health certificate.

The whole of the UK is recognised as free from infection with Marteilia refringens although there are movement restrictions in place on the River Tamar in Cornwall and Devon.

The whole coastline of Great Britain is recognised as free from infection with Bonamia ostreae except the following areas:

  • the south coast of Cornwall from Lizard to Start Point;
  • the coast of Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex from Portland Bill to Selsey Bill;
  • the area along the coast of North Kent and Essex from North Foreland to Felixstowe;
  • the area along the coast in south-west Wales from Wooltack Point to St Govan's Head, including Milford Haven and the tidal waters of the East and West Cleddau river;
  • Loch Sunart, Highland;
  • West Loch Tarbert, Argyll.

In addition, the Menai Strait is currently subject to movement restrictions for Bonamia ostreae.

Guernsey, Jersey, Herm and the Isle of Man are all recognised as Bonamia ostreae free areas. The whole coastline of Northern Ireland is recognised as free from Bonamia ostreae apart from Lough Foyle and Strangford Lough.

The whole coastline of Great Britain is recognised as free from OsHV-1 μvar except for the following areas:

  • The coast of Colne Point, Essex to the southern extent of Pegwell Bay Kent (the River Roach, River Crouch, Blackwater Estuary and River Colne in Essex area has merged with the north Kent coast area);
  • Poole Harbour in Dorset;
  • The River Teign in Devon.

Guernsey is also recognised as free from OsHV-1 μvar. In the territory of Northern Ireland, Belfast Lough is the only area approved as free from OsHV-1 μvar.

Movements of shellfish species susceptible to infection by Marteilia refringens, Bonamia ostreae and OsHV-1 μvar, into the Great Britain health zone, must originate from another zone or country recognised as free of that disease. Movements are allowed from disease free areas to non-approved areas.


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