JCU test­ing safety net for prawns

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

THE North’s bur­geon­ing aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try is in safe hands, with James Cook Uni­ver­sity re­searchers of­fer­ing a much- needed ad­di­tional dis­ease test­ing ser­vice.

Af­ter the white spot dis­ease break­out in the south­ern prawn in­dus­try, farm­ers have re­sponded with in­creased dis­ease test­ing and Queens­land’s test­ing fa­cil­i­ties have been un­able to keep up with de­mand.

Pro­fes­sor Dean Jerry from JCU’s ARC Re­search Hub for Ad­vanced Prawn Breed­ing said the ser­vice would speed up test­ing and al­low farm­ers to bet­ter man­age their stock.

“There is a clearly iden­ti­fied need for dis­ease test­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties in North­ern Aus­tralia that can pro­vide re­sults quickly,” he said.

The test­ing the uni­ver­sity of­fers can de­tect a range of lo­cal dis­eases in­clud­ing gill- as­so­ci­ated viruses in crus­taceans.

“JCU has an im­por­tant role to play in both rou­tine test­ing in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, and as a part­ner to con­duct re­search and devel­op­ment,” Pro­fes­sor Jerry said.

JCU aqua­cul­ture PhD stu­dent Kelly Condon said a new dis­ease test­ing fa­cil­ity would sup­ple­ment test­ing con­ducted by south­ern lab­o­ra­to­ries by pro­vid­ing ac­cess to a re­gional and rapid mon­i­tor­ing ser­vice to as­sist biose­cu­rity man­age­ment and dis­ease preven­tion.

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