An article in the Marin Independent Journal today focuses on the merger of two oyster farms on California's north coast. For background on the state of the industry, reporter Rob Rogers turned to director of UC Cooperative Extension Sea Grant Extension Paul Olin.
The story said the industry has been plagued by a bacterium - Vibrio tubiashii - that has killed the larvae oyster growers use to replenish their supply. While a few of the county's oyster growers raise their own larvae, most depend on out-of-state hatcheries that have been decimated by the bacterium.
"The bacterial contamination of hatcheries, primarily in the Pacific Northwest, has significantly reduced the baby clams and oysters available," Olin was quoted. "Hatchery management technology has been effective in overcoming that problem, but getting out of the woods has been a real difficulty."