Prawn ad a ‘slap in face’
A GOLD Coast prawn farm boss has slammed a new biosecurity advertisement calling on the public to stop white spot disease from being introduced into local waterways.
Gold Coast Tiger Prawns general manager Alistair Dick said it was a “slap in the face” to prawn farmers because authorities continued to import seafood from countries affected by the virus.
The office of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce hit back arguing the public had always been obliged to ensure diseases were not spread.
Biosecurity Queensland has released advertisements urging anglers to “be a mate” and “check your bait” more than a year after the virus was detected and farmers had to destroy millions of dollars of prawns.
The advertisements, starring former cricketer Andrew Symonds, aim to encourage anglers not to use imported supermarket seafood as bait because it could be affected by the virus which can be deadly to crustacean populations.
Mr Dick claimed the advertisement was an admission imported prawns could spread the disease.
“It’s really annoying because in the advertisement there’s an admission there’s something wrong with the (imported) prawns you buy from the shops,” Mr Tick said.
“When you break it down, we’re relying on the general public which is scary, we’re relying on the public to do the job Federal Biosecurity should be doing.
“It’s a slap in the face after telling authorities that these imports are dangerous for 15 years.”
In a statement to the Bulletin a spokeswoman for the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Mr Joyce said the public had a responsibility not to introduce imported prawns into the wild.
“This has been a longstanding risk management principle for imported raw prawns, and it is important to continue to ensure the public is aware,” she said.
“The Department has put in place strict new import conditions to support the safe resumption of trade in uncooked prawns and prawn meat.”
A Biosecurity Queensland spokeswoman said since the detection of white spot disease in south-east Queensland in late 2016 the government had spent more than $15 million dollars on disease control.