White spot prawn disease warning issued to NSW anglers

Prawns with White Spot Disease lesions. Photos courtesy of Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Prawns with White Spot Disease lesions. Photos courtesy of Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is urging the community to be aware of new control orders in place, following a comprehensive risk analysis conducted on white spot disease.

An amendment has been made to the Biosecurity (White Spot Disease of crustaceans) Control Order 2017 to allow for the movement of negligible risk decapod crustaceans from the Queensland White Spot infected area into NSW.

NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss, said it is crucial the community continues to remain vigilant to ensure NSW remains free of white spot.

“Let me be clear, we need everyone to continue to play a role to ensure white spot does not enter NSW and our Department is doing everything possible,” Dr Middlemiss said.

“NSW DPI has conducted a risk analysis for the entry into NSW of certain uncooked decapod crustaceans from the Queensland infected area for white spot.

“This analysis concluded there is a negligible risk of white spot from trade in these crustaceans as long as important risk mitigations are in place and this means the risk of white spot being introduced would only occur in highly exceptional circumstances.

“We also know these types of species are different to prawns and carry vastly less virus.

“As a result, we are allowing movement of species such as blue swimmer crabs, mud crabs, lobsters, and spanner crabs which can now be brought into NSW from the Queensland infected area, provided certain biosecurity conditions are met.

“The risk mitigation measures that will apply to all movements of these crustaceans include that they are destined to be cooked for human consumption, that all wastes and waste water are disposed of to council approved landfill or sewer systems, and that no live animals are returned to waterways. 

“DPI authorised officers will undertake activities that monitor compliance with the new control order.

“We have made the movement change to allow important access for trade of these species and also for the enjoyment of the NSW public.”

As part of the new Biosecurity Act in place, all members of the community have a general biosecurity duty to consider how actions could have a negative impact on another person, business, animal or the environment.

“Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and we are asking for everyone to remain vigilant to ensure white spot does not enter NSW.”

Communities are reminded:

  • 1.     NSW seafood remains safe to consume.
  • 2.     Do not use prawns intended for human consumption as bait in any NSW waters.
  • 3.     Obey the current restrictions on importation from the  Queensland infected area of prawns, nippers, yabbies and other crustaceans or marine worms to prevent White Spot Disease being introduced into NSW.

For more information about White Spot, visit DPI’s website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au