Scotland: Confirmation of Bonamia in Loch Sunart native oysters –

Scotland: Confirmation of Bonamia in Loch Sunart native oysters Published:  28 July, 2006

THE Fish Health Inspectorate has issued a Notice under the Fish Health Regulations 1997 controlling the movement of molluscan shellfish from Loch Sunart, following confirmation of the presence of the shellfish parasite Bonamia ostreae in native oysters.

The Community Reference Laboratory has confirmed the diagnosis by scientists from Fisheries Research Services (FRS), Aberdeen that Bonamia was present in a sample of native oysters taken from Loch Sunart in late April of this year. The infection was found in the course of routine statutory monitoring.

The area controlled for movements selected is intended to ensure maximum protection against further spread of the disease. It is not expected that the controls will interfere with current commercial activity as shellfish from this area are generally fished for human consumption and this trade will be able to continue.

Bonamia has no implications for human health but it is a serious disease of native oysters. It is not proven to have any clinical effect on other species of shellfish. Since Bonamia is listed as a notifiable disease, it is imperative that any suspicion of its presence should be immediately reported to the Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) at FRS, Aberdeen. Sudden unusually high mortality in native oyster stock might indicate the presence of the disease.

FRS will be investigating the extent and effect of the disease in the controlled area.

It is not known how or when the disease was introduced to Loch Sunart. If anyone has information that may help to answer these questions they can contact the Fish Health Inspectorate at FRS, Aberdeen on 01224 876544, in the strictest confidence. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.