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Improving Treatment to Reduce Oyster Disease

Harvesting commercially grown oysters. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Harvesting commercially grown oysters. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Harvesting commercially grown oysters. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

Harvesting commercially grown oysters. ©Margaret Pizer/VASG

In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a regulatory change that would require treatment of all oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico for raw consumption for the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus. VIMS researchers Howard Kator and Kimberly Reece worked with oyster growers Thomas Gallivan, A.J. Erskine, and Tommy Leggett to identify whether a new, cheaper method of treatment could effectively reduce Vibrio in oysters. The process, called oyster relay, involves moving oysters to higher salinity water before harvest. The study results indicate that oyster relay could offer a cheap alternative to other treatment methods.

Project details: Thomas Gallivan, A.J. Erskine (Bevans Oyster Company), Tommy Leggett (Chessie Seafood Company), Howard Kator (VIMS), and Kimberly Reece (VIMS).  Method and concept evaluation of relaying oysters from Chesapeake Bay to high salinity water as a post-harvest-process to reduce Vibrio vulnificus to undetectable levels