A Bay of Islands oyster farmer says he risks being driven out of business by shellfish thieves after more than 30 years in the industry.

Public health officials are also concerned about the thefts, saying the stolen oysters could make people sick because they were taken when the Bay was closed to shellfish harvesting because of possible contamination.

Steve Van Veen, who owns an oyster farm in the Waikare Inlet, has been hit by thieves three times in the past month and about $1000 worth of shop-ready shellfish was stolen each time.

Stolen Oysters from Steve Van Veens Oyster farm

Van Veen said he had been farming oysters