Global consequences and industry responses to OsHV-1

We reviewed the consequences of OsHV-1 μVar for the Pacific oyster farming industry, including economic and social aspects, and assessed the efficiency of responses by governments and industry in France, Ireland, Spain, New Zealand and Australia. There were remarkable similarities between countries in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

Fuhrmann M, Castinel A, Cheslett D, Furones Nozal D and Whittington RJ (2019). The impacts of ostreid herpesvirus 1 microvariants on Pacific oyster aquaculture in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres since 2008. Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz. 38: 491-509.

doi: 10.20506/rst.38.2.3000

Summary: Mollusc farming is the third most productive aquaculture activity in the world, and the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) is one of the most important farmed species. Since 2008, mass mortalities in C. gigas due to ostreid herpesvirus 1 microvariants have challenged the viability of this industry in Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Ten years after the emergence of this disease, there is evidence that the industry has become consolidated into fewer, larger companies, with the displacement of small farming enterprises and loss of employment in coastal communities. Rather than seeking technical solutions, the industry has turned to compensatory production strategies, such as increasing the number of spat placed on farms, higher market prices for table oysters and direct marketing, which appear to have allowed profitability. Biosecurity policies and responses to outbreaks, including those from within the industry, have had unintended consequences for hatcheries and farmers in areas free of disease, mainly caused by restrictions on animal movements, and have not prevented global spread. There may be opportunities for better coordination of industry and government responses to epizootic disease emergence in aquaculture. There is certainly a need for increased adoption of technical advances from research, once these solutions have been adequately verified.

If you would like a copy of the scientific paper please send a request by e-mail to: