Evaluation of the progeny of the fourth-generation Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata (Gould, 1850) breeding lines for resistance to QX disease (Marteilia sydneyi) and winter mortality (Bonamia roughleyi)


Correspondence: M C Dove, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Port Stephens Fisheries Institute, Taylors Beach, NSW 2316, Australia. E-mail: michael.dove@dpi.nsw.gov.au


The Sydney rock oyster breeding programme began in 1990 and initially focused on faster growth and resistance to winter mortality disease (WM, Bonamia roughleyi) before including QX disease (QX, Marteilia sydneyi) resistance in 1997. Four generations of oysters have now been exposed to these diseases at three sites in the Georges River, NSW, Australia (Lime Kiln Bar, LKB; Woolooware Bay, WB; and, Quibray Bay, QB). Non-selected control oysters and lines developed at each site (Line 1 – LKB, Line 2 – WB, Line 3 – QB) were placed at the three sites alongside a new QX-resistant line (Line 4) bred from QX survivors in other NSW estuaries. Line 1 oysters grew to a marketable size (>50 g) in two years with minimal losses following QX disease outbreaks: 28% mortality compared with 97% in controls. Losses in Line 3 oysters selected for WM resistance at QB were reduced by more than half (23% versus 52%). Line 2 performed best at WB, but this line showed excellent resistance to QX at LKB and WM at QB, indicating that breeding for resistance to both diseases is effective. However, selection of oysters for QX did not confer resistance to WM and vice versa.