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Posted Mon Sep 20 2010: from The Independent:
Shucks!: Why British oysters are off the menu
Yet, after all that, the British oyster industry is now teetering on the brink of a new crisis. A new virus, which has never before been seen in Britain, has wiped out more than eight million oysters at a farm in Whitstable. The OsHV-1 virus is, ironically enough for a disease which attacks a foodstuff that has for centuries been regarded as an aphrodisiac, a form of herpes.... Though the disease has no effect on humans, it has an 80 per cent death-rate among oysters and no known cure. "It is catastrophic," according to John Bayes, who runs a farm at the centre of the infected area, Seasalter Shellfish, which last year produced 14,000 tons of oysters worth 30m. He fears a "total wipe-out" of the significant investment he has made in seeding new oyster beds.... "All living organisms have herpes, some people say, but it only presents itself when they are in poor condition," says Richard Green.... "It's quite different from salmon farming where you introduce intensive amounts of feed and antibiotics into the water. All oysters need is good clean water. An oyster is only as good as the water in which it grows. An oyster is a barometer of water quality."
[Read more stories about: toxic water, massive die-off, ocean warming]

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'Doc Jim says:
It's tough to use a barometer if it's dying.

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