(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)
We have finally reached the end of our list and hope you have enjoyed learning with us! Similar to Ocean Acidification, our top offender is an unseen predator. However, it is one in which the cause is still unknown, and treatment is impossible.
1) Parasitic Diseases
Causing a higher mortality rate than natural predators and ocean acidification, diseases such as Dermo and MSX come in at a landslide as #1 on our list. Perkinsus marinus, or Dermo, is a single-celled parasite that can multiply by hundreds of thousands. It is contagious and spreads easily because of the way oysters feed. Temperatures higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit and high salinity can cause it to spread more rapidly. MSX, another parasitic disease, is similar in the way that it spreads and effects oysters, but requires higher levels of salinity to see the same rapid increase. These diseases get all of their nutrients from the oysters they infect. Diseases in oysters are nearly always fatal and kill within a year. Oyster beds can remain infected for 1-2 years before it is safe to repopulate them.