“Empty shells only” oysters hit in season, mass death in southern coast


The unprecedented mass extinction of oysters continues in the southern coast, where the largest number of oysters are found in Korea. There were no oysters at the time of picking oysters, only empty shells remained, but the cause has not yet been found.

Reporter Hong Seung-yeon covered the scene.

An oyster farm in Namhae.

During harvest season the oysters should hang out, but mostly empty shells.

died and died.

An empty oyster shell like this is attached to the string that should have been a heavy oyster by now.

It is the first time that even farmed fishermen are experiencing this.

[공순덕/어민 : 이런 적이 없었거든요. 죽을 때가 아니에요. 지금 생산을 해도 알이 가득 차가지고 (있어야 하거든요.)]

I try to peel the skin and remove the inside, but the condition of the oysters is not good either.

[김일석/굴 껍데기 제거 작업자 : 예년 같으면 두 줄 정도 따면 하루 물량이 됐는데 요즘은 넉 줄 이렇게 따야 해요. 빈 것도 많고 알도 좀 약하고.]

It was from the end of last month that reports of oyster deaths were reported one after another in the southern coast, the main production area of ​​oysters.

In less than a month, more than 400 cases were received, accounting for more than half of all oyster farms.

[김성대/수협 수하식 굴 지도과 : 굴이 거의 8,90% 정도는 어장마다 다 죽어 있는 상태입니다. 다 버리는, 그 정도 수준밖에 안 되지 지금 채취할 굴이 아니거든요.]

The price of oysters, which stood at 7,000 won per kg last year due to a sharp drop in yield, nearly doubled this year.

[이말년/상인 : 이런 때는 처음이에요. 굴이 이렇게 안 좋아서 이렇게 비쌀 줄은. 장사가 안 되고.]

The cause of the unusual mass death of oysters is still unknown.

However, it is estimated that the increase in water temperature due to climate change, competition for food, and aging of farms have had an impact.

[박영제/한국종합환경연구소 수석연구원 : 총체적으로 남해안이 기후 변화에 대해서 취약성을 가지고 있습니다. 결국은 굴만 죽는 게 아니에요. 밀식(과밀양식)도 방지해야 되고, (양식장) 청소도 해야 되고.]

It is necessary to find out the cause of death and take measures to compensate fishermen so that the same damage does not occur again next year.

(Video coverage: Kyungmoon Jeong)


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