Mystery killer takes toll on Clean Seas fish stocks

A MYSTERY illness is killing Clean Seas Tuna's stock of yellowtail kingfish, adding at least $17.5 million to the company's full-year loss.

A MYSTERY illness is killing Clean Seas Tuna's stock of yellowtail kingfish, adding at least $17.5 million to the company's full-year loss.

The gut enteritis problem affecting the kingfish has worsened since February, wiping out 38 per cent of its 2012 stock and 17 per cent of its 2011 stock, Clean Seas said. The fish-farming company said that, to make matters worse, experts had found fish that survived the illness were hit by secondary infestations due to their weakened health.

Help was being sought from overseas in order to fully understand the primary and secondary diseases, Clean Seas said.

The cost of the outbreak so far totalled about $14 million, Clean Seas said.

The company will also write down the value of its kingfish assets, with a review of the problem to date indicating a charge of up to $17.5 million.

The write-down will be added to Clean Seas' underlying result for the year to June 30, which the company now expects to be similar to the $14.7 million pre-tax loss posted in the 2010-11 financial year.

Clean Seas has appointed New Zealand aquaculture executive Paul Steere as chairman, replacing the outgoing John Ellice-Flint.

Clean Seas shares closed 0.5? or 17 per cent lower at 3.5? yesterday.

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