Spot dis­ease puts prawns un­der threat

Pilbara News - - Sports - Tay­lar Amonini

White spot dis­ease is threat­en­ing to make its way to WA shores, caus­ing the Depart­ment of Fish­eries to call on recre­ational fish­ers to do help pre­vent the dis­ease.

White spot dis­ease is a highly con­ta­gious vi­ral dis­ease that af­fects crus­taceans and has now been de­tected on five prawn farms in south-east Queens­land.

The dis­ease does not pose a threat to hu­man health but causes high rates of mor­tal­ity in prawn stock and could dev­as­tate Aus­tralia’s $360 mil­lion prawn in­dus­try.

If WSD is es­tab­lished in WA, it could pose a threat to the State’s fresh­wa­ter and marine crus­taceans in both farmed and wild fish­eries, in­clud­ing prawns, crabs, lob­sters and mar­ron.

Un­til this in­ci­dent, Aus­tralia had been one of the few coun­tries in the world with a prawn farm­ing in­dus­try free of WSD.

Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture Barnaby Joyce an­nounced re­cently the in­def­i­nite sus­pen­sion of raw prawn im­ports af­ter the dis­ease was de­tected in prawns sold for hu­man con­sump­tion.

This is the first use of the sus­pen­sion power since the new Biose­cu­rity Act 2015 came into force.

Rec­fish­west op­er­a­tions man­ager Ley­land Camp­bell said the sit­u­a­tion re­quired recre­ational fish­ers to help pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Some fish­ers might be tempted to buy food-grade prawns to use as bait, but as im­ported prawns come from coun­tries where WSD is very com­mon, it’s not worth tak­ing the chance,” he said.

Fish­ers have been asked to keep an eye out for WSD and any­one us­ing prawns as bait, and re­port any­thing to the FishWatch 24-hour hot­line on 1800 815 507.

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