Event News

European oyster conference to discuss native flat oyster disease-testing success

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Orkney Shellfish Hatchery managing director, Nik Sachlikidis, has been selected to speak at the NORA 4 Conference later this month after the hatchery achieved a substantial breakthrough in disease screening for native flat oysters.  

The conference, which is run by the Native Oyster Restoration Alliance, spans three days and includes presentations from a range of expert speakers. Sachlikidis’ presentation will focus on the Development of screening techniques for Bonamia to improve biosecurity and ensure disease free status for commercial shellfish hatcheries following success in using a non-destructive process to screen native flat oysters, the hatchery’s primary species, for the lethal Bonamia pathogen. 

Orkney Shellfish Hatchery worked alongside aquaculture genetics specialist, Xelect, on the project, which announced the breakthrough in June of this year. The innovation uses a highly sensitive DNA test to sample the waters oysters live in to identify the presence of the pathogen, with no need for the oysters to leave the hatchery while testing takes place or be destroyed post-testing.   

“With the help of the Xelect team, 2021 has seen Orkney Shellfish Hatchery achieve a major breakthrough in the hatchery management of the long-researched disease of Bonamia ostreae, a parasitic infection that is lethal to shellfish. This innovation takes some amazing recent academic work and applies it to the commercial hatchery setting. Ultimately, this process allows us as a hatchery to manage our broodstock more effectively to control for Bonamia in seed production and is an enormous step forward in the production of disease-free native oyster seed. Being given the opportunity to share the news and details of this breakthrough on an international stage at the NORA 4 Conference is an honor and I look forward to sharing our team’s work on this critical topic with the wider scientific community,” said Sachlikidis.

The NORA 4 Conference will take place online from November 23-25. For more information, visit noraeurope.eu/nora-4.

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