11 April, 2024

Pest oyster found in Moreton Bay and Brisbane waterways

Biosecurity Queensland has confirmed detection of an introduced marine pest oyster across several locations in Southeast Queensland.

Pest oyster found in Moreton Bay and Brisbane waterways - feature photo

The Suminoe oyster (Magallana ariakensis) has been detected at Bribie Island, Boggy Creek, Pinkenba (near the mouth of the Brisbane river) and Kedron Brook.

It was first detected in 2023, but the species identification was not confirmed until recently.

This is the first time it has been detected in Australia.

Queensland acting chief biosecurity officer Michael Reid said the Suminoe oyster is a fast growing, large rock oyster belonging to the Ostreidae family of salt-water bivalve molluscs.

“The Suminoe oyster competes with native species for space and may carry exotic diseases and parasites,” Mr Reid said.

“It can grow attached to submerged and floating infrastructure including pylons, pontoons and boats and can occupy shallow waters, as well as muddy creeks of warm estuaries.”

The Queensland Oyster Growers Association is working with Biosecurity Queensland to minimise any potential impacts to industry and the environment.

The presence of Suminoe oyster does not impact the quality of commercial oysters grown in the Moreton Bay.

Oysters produced in Queensland are safe to eat, and supply will not be impacted by this detection.

Suminoe oyster is large and flat in appearance, and the shell can grow up to 24cm long. It can be grey and yellowish, or brown and purple.

The inner surface is smooth and greyish-white, with purple on the edges and a large purplish “scar” where the oyster is attached on the inside of the shell.

Suminoe oysters are difficult to identify in the field without opening them when they are small as they look very similar to other species of native rock oysters until they grow to a size larger than other species.

Mr Reid urged Queensland fishing, boating and recreational water-goers to be on alert and report suspect Suminoe oyster to Biosecurity Queensland.

Suminoe oysters are considered biosecurity matter and should not be touched or moved.


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