Prawn farmers fear white spot spread

THE white spot disease which badly hit prawn farmers in Queensland, Australia, late last year looks to have spread further to the Brisbane area.

While the authorities are waiting for the results of further tests, five new cases of the virus have been found in crabs and prawns in the northern Moreton Bay area, near Brisbane.

Queensland’s fisheries minister, Mark Furner, said he is waiting for more tests to be completed before making any decision about the future of the movement control order.

‘This is the same area that positive results were found in 2017.  But we have received results back from the southern Moreton Bay area and all samples were negative for white spot syndrome virus, so that area is clear.’

Acting chief biosecurity officer Malcolm Letts said Biosecurity Queensland was currently waiting for results from the Brisbane and Logan River area before taking the next step.

‘It’s important that we complete testing from all sites before we make any decisions about our white spot disease strategy moving forward,’ he said.

‘These initial results have been discussed with key seafood industry groups and we will continue to work closely with them throughout this process.’

Biosecurity Queensland is also conducting surveillance for white spot disease along the east coast of Queensland with results expected in June.

White spot disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects shellfish. It cost fish farmers in Queensland millions of dollars last year, threatening the future of many businesses.

While it is not harmful to humans, the disease is deadly to prawns.

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