France's Oyster Industry In Trouble
There's big trouble in France for the oyster market. Bloomberg reports that close to 80% of France's annual 130,000-ton oyster harvest have been killed off this summer due to a herpes-like virus. The virus affected the 12- to 18-month-old oysters that would be edible in 2010. Those due to be harvested this year and next year weren't harmed. Oyster growers are trying to replenish the stocks but the oyster business which generates $1.5 billion is sales is in serious jeopardy in two years.
Researchers at the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea found larger than usual quantities of the Ostreid Herpes, or OsHV-1, virus as well as bacteria called Vibrio Splendidus. They believe that the bacteria might have made the oysters more vulnerable and that climate change may also have been a factor. Winter temperatures in 2007 and 2008 were 2 percent above average. So far the oyster crisis has only occurred in France.