French Oyster Farmers Protest, Plead for Aid
About 100 oyster farmers on Monday dumped tons of oyster shells in front of a French prefecture in Bordeaux, demanding more government aid to overcome an outbreak of a herpes virus.
According to marine research institute Ifremer, Oyster Herpesvirus type 1 is killing young oysters between 12 and 18 months old, prompting the government to pledge help in the form of tax benefits. Oyster farmers want more.
"The elimination of state charges, the deferment of charges and fiscal aid have been proposed but all this isn't nearly enough," Philippe Gaboriau, the head of a local oyster farmers union, told reporters.
France annually produces more than 100,000 metric tons of oysters, according to Ifremer.