Rodney Times : December 14th 2010
www.rodneytimes.co.nz Tuesday, December 14, 2010 Apartments from $220,000 Hopper Developments Ltd Gain the freedom to sit back & enjoy life Phone now on 09 427 0090 / 0800 629 476 View us on Trade Me Properties 65 Tauranga Place, Orewa / www.maygroveorewa.co.nz Oyster harvest hit By DELWYN DICKEY Jim Dollimore: Current effects on the Pacific oyster industry are short-term, he says. WIDE REACH The $30 million oyster industry has seen two die- offs in the northern area this year -- at the end of March and from the start of November. Farms around the Coromandel, Hauraki Gulf, including the Mahurangi Harbour, and as far north as the Bay of Islands suffered in March. The latest incident is not as bad but it has been more widespread with Far North farms also affected. Biomarine director Jim Dollimore estimates more than 20 percent of his stock in Mahurangi farms is affected. PACIFIC oyster die-offs won't mean you'll go without this Christmas. And they are safe to eat because the shellfish specific virus can't be passed to people. Deaths on Mahurangi Har- bour and Kaipara Harbour oyster farms do not spell dis- aster for the industry, Snells Beach oyster expert Jim Dol- limore says. The situation will have a financial impact over the next year, but no long-term effect, the director of Biomarine, the biggest aquaculture farming operation in the area, says. Understanding the causes and better environment mod- elling could lead to more efficient operations with more robust stock, he says. The eight farms in the Mahurangi Harbour are among many in the Auckland and northern area suffering significant losses of young oyster stock or spat. The oyster industry is facing significant production issues with a predicted short- fall for next year of about half of the harvest,'' Agriculture and Forestry Ministry res- ponse manager Dr Richard Norman says. Spat comes either from wild stock or the country's nursery in Nelson. Mr Dollimore says nursery- produced spat is the most affected and the fastest grow- ing -- the worst hit with deaths of up to 80 percent. MAF says a range of fac- tors is involved, triggered by unusually warm water. Mr Dollimore says harbour salinity is also a possible con- tributor. Auckland and northern areas account for more than 70 percent of New Zealand's Pacific oyster production. With higher temperatures and more extreme weather there are likely to be more of these type of events.'' He believes the industry will adapt and become more efficient and oyster stock more resilient as a result. The first outbreak in March was after a severe drought. There had been no rain and so no fresh water flush- ing into the harbours for months,'' Mr Dollimore says. The second outbreak came after a wet September, but lower than normal rainfall in October and November. MAF biosecurity has ident- ified a type of herpes virus in samples from affected farms. The same virus has been found in oysters in many countries where it has also been associated with die-offs. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority says there are no food safety or human health risks associated with the virus and no risk to our export markets. Like the cockles in Whangateau Harbour there may well be more than one cause,'' Mr Dollimore says. The cockles died after hot summer days in early 2009 with about 60 percent of the population wiped out. The cause was a naturally occurring parasite along with a bacterial infection attack- ing the heat-stressed shell- fish. Booze blitz nabs 37, a tomahawk and nunchuks By CARALISE MOORE Thirty-seven drivers face drink-driving charges after the final phase of a police blitz this month. Police stopped about 6000 people during the third stage of Operation Lifesaver from December 1 to 4. Fourteen vehicles were impounded and 14 drivers had their licences suspended for associated offences. Police targeted remote rural areas in Rodney includ- ing Taupaki, Kaukapakapa and Mangawhai, as well as larger arterial roads like the Coatesville-Riverhead High- way, State Highway 1 near Puhoi, Whangaparaoa Rd in Gulf Harbour, and Mill Rd in Helensville. A variety of offences in- cluded possession of offensive weapons. In one vehicle police found nunchuks and a set of regis- tration plates believed to be used for petrol drive-offs at service stations. A man is to appear in the North Shore District Court charged with possession of an offensive weapon and several counts of theft. Another man has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon after police found a tomahawk axe in his car. Police also caught two fishermen with 54 undersized snapper. Police seized the fish and referred the incident to Fisheries Ministry officers. The three-phase operation targeting drink-drivers was aimed at reducing road deaths and the effect of crashes on the community. Police say alcohol is a con- tributing factor in 30 percent of injury crashes in Rodney. More than 25,000 motorists were stopped during the oper- ation from October to Decem- ber and 143 were charged with drink-driving offences. The operation is run to save the lives of your families and loved ones. A number of motorists still appear to fail to comprehend the dangers of drinking alcohol and driving,'' sergeant Steve Perris says. If you intend drinking alcohol, plan ahead, nomi- nate a sober driver, catch a taxi or use dial-a-driver services.'' Several more operations are planned during the fes- tive season, targeting crimi- nal and traffic offences. There will also be an increase in police numbers working in Rodney, so expect to see more police on the beat and in patrol cars over the next couple of months,'' Mr Perris says.
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