Last update: 18 March 2016
POMS suspected in Tasmania farmed Pacific Oysters
In February 2016, Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) was detected in Tasmania in association with significant mortality of farmed Pacific Oysters in a number of growing areas. Confirmed by laboratory testing, it is the first detection of POMS in that State. Tasmanian authorities are working closely with their industry to undertake tracing, surveillance to determine infected and non-infected areas, and development of a management plan for POMS.
NSW oyster farmers that cultivate triploid and diploid Pacific Oysters are reminded to be vigilant and report any unexplained mortality to DPI.
The NSW government has implemented movement restrictions to prohibit all movement of live oysters and associated equipment from Tasmania to NSW (with the exception of those for direct sale for human consumption) until further information is available about the nature of the mortality events.
POMS in NSW
To date POMS has only been known to occur in NSW, where it is known to have caused mortality in farmed Pacific Oysters in the Hawkesbury River and Georges River (including Botany Bay), and the virus that causes POMS has also been detected in Brisbane Water and Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour).
POMS was first detected in Georges River and Port Jackson in 2010 and 2011, and in Hawkesbury River in 2013. The virus causing POMS was detected in Brisbane Water in 2014. Sydney Rock Oysters are not affected by this virus.
Controls have been put in place to prevent movements of oysters and oyster farming equipment from these affected estuaries to any other NSW river.
NSW Health advises there is no risk to human health associated with this event.
Australia’s biosecurity and quality-control regimes, both on imported and locally grown products, are designed to ensure that consumer products are high quality and safe to eat.
What can you do to prevent the spread of POMS to other oyster growing estuaries
If boating or fishing in the Hawkesbury River, Brisbane Water, Georges River or Port Jackson and you intend to move to another estuary:
- Ensure that fishing gear or other equipment are free of any oysters/sediment/ biofouling;
- Drain all water from your boat and gear;
- Use car/truck wash to rinse gear and equipment, boats (inside and out) and trailers and then air dry; and
- Flush outboard engines.
- Factsheet - POMS: Oyster Equipment Movement Protocol (PDF, 55.52 KB)
- Factsheet - General information to prevent spread of POMS
(PDF, 61.73 KB)
- Factsheet - Information for restaurants to reduce the risk of spread of POMS
(PDF, 71.76 KB)