More than 350 dozen oysters have been stolen from two Karuah farmers on Saturday night.

It is estimated the loss is more than $4, 000 and oyster farmers suspect the act was undertaken by people with good knowledge of the industry.

Local oyster farmer Richard Farley said this is devastating for farmers in an already struggling industry.

The thieves took additional equipment including two chainsaws and wet weather gear.

Richard Farley said two other farmers also had a significant amount of oysters stolen between Christmas and February.

Farmers will now be forced to take additional precautions to ensure their property is protected against theft.

The thieves are also unlikely to meet strict quality control standards required for oysters and are predicted to offload the oysters to ready-made markets, placing those who eat them at risk.

One person getting sick from eating an oyster can result in a blow to the whole industry.

The thefts are believed to be strategically targetted. Anyone who has information is encouraged to contact the police.