August 27, 2012
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Shellfisheries is reminding shellfish aquaculture businesses and those permitted for shellfish restoration purposes, permission from the DEP is required to import shellfish seed. This is pursuant to N.J.S.A. 50:1-34 and 1-35, which states that no shellfish from any other state or foreign country shall be planted in state waters without prior written permission from the DEP. The DEP must review the nature, species, quantity, source, location and condition of the seed and determine that the importation will not be detrimental to native shellfish or the shellfish industry.
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science Shellfish Pathology Lab has recently detected Bonamia exitiosa infections in Crassostrea virginica oyster seed from North Carolina. Bonamia species are protistan parasites that can cause lethal infections in some species of oysters.
This is the first instance that any Bonamia infection has been confirmed in eastern oysters, C. virginica. The parasite is also known to infect the crested oyster, Ostrea equestris, in Atlantic coast waters south of Cape Hatteras. While the impact of B. exitiosa on C. virginica is uncertain, care must be taken to avoid spreading it, particular to areas north of its known range (Cape Hatteras to Florida) where C. virginica have never been exposed to it.
For more information regarding this Notice or how to submit a 'seed importation request,' please contact the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife's Bureau of Shellfisheries at 609-748-2040.