Prawn ad a ‘slap in face’

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - NI­CHOLAS MCELROY ni­cholas.mcelroy@news.com.au

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.

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