Port River outbreak 2018 (feral oysters)

Routine research, aimed at improving early detection of the POMS virus, detected the presence of the virus in feral Pacific Oysters in the Port River in February 2018. The virus has not been detected in South Australian oyster farming areas, with ‘proof of freedom’ declared on Friday 6 April 2018.

PIRSA will maintain its focus on addressing the feral oyster population in the Port River and will continue a surveillance program with industry for early detection going forward.

To reduce the risk of POMS spreading, PIRSA has implemented a ban on the removal of all bivalve organisms (oysters, mussels, cockles, razorfish) from the Port River until further notice. Bivalves should not be taken from the Port River area for any purpose including bait or berley.

PIRSA is working with key fishing and aquaculture sectors and boat owners to ensure vessels are clean and to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.

Media releases:

What you can do to help

Fishers and boaters can help stop the spread of POMS by ensuring they follow these steps before their vessels leave the Port River for other areas of the State:

  • Ensure vessel hulls are clean and remove plants and animals from fishing and boating equipment and clothing so you don’t transfer pests and diseases to other waterways.
  • Where possible, wash boats and equipment with light household detergent, rinse with tap water without letting the water drain into waterways, and importantly dry completely before moving to another waterway. Download POMS Decontamination fact sheet (PDF 115.7 KB).
  • Bivalves cannot be taken from the Port River for any purpose including bait or berley.
  • Never use seafood sold for human consumption as bait or berley.
  • Boat owners should refer to the guidelines for good vessel cleaning practices.


POMS is a notifiable disease and must be immediately reported.
Report suspicion of POMS to Fishwatch: 1800 065 522.

Page Last Reviewed: 09 Apr 2018
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