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Event Details

Disease event report

Category: Disease
Observation: 12.07.2008
Continent: Europe
Country: France
State:
Area: Statewide
Location:
Severity: Moderate
Event details
Oysters have been mysteriously dying in the worst crisis to hit France's shellfish industry in 40 years. industry in 40 years. In the last few days farmers have lost between 40 and 100 per cent of their oysters aged one to two years old. Such a death toll has not been seen in France since 1970, when virtually an entire harvest was wiped out. Experts are unsure if the shellfish are succumbing to a viral epidemic or to poor water conditions caused by global warming. Mortality rates are always higher in summer but not on this scale, and never simultaneously throughout France, experts said. At L’Etang de Thau, a saltwater lake near the south-western city of Montpellier, about 80 per cent of young specimens have died. “A major part of our 2009 production has been wiped out,” one of the lake’s oyster farmers said, adding that the industry’s future “is on the line”. Oysters have become more fragile since water temperatures began rising in 1995 because of climate change. But researchers are puzzled by the scale of the plague, as sea temperatures are not dangerously high and tests have revealed no known diseases. The crisis will have no impact on current oyster consumption, as the ready-to-eat, mature specimens have not been affected.
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