Commercial fishers and white spot disease

White spot disease update

Movement restrictions are in place for high-risk animals such as prawns, yabbies and marine worms. This means they cannot be moved out of the white spot disease restricted area that extends from Caloundra to the NSW border and west to Ipswich, unless cooked first.

If you are using prawns as bait make sure they are Australian wild-caught from a quality bait supplier or catch your own. Using imported raw prawns as bait may introduce serious diseases into our waterways.

Check out these great tips on how to catch your own bait or download the white spot disease information guide (PDF, 2.3MB) for further details on white spot disease and movement restrictions.

Movement restrictions

To reduce the likelihood of white spot disease spreading, movement restrictions are in place. This means that raw prawns, yabbies and marine worms cannot be removed from the white spot disease restricted area which extends from Caloundra to the New South Wales border (following a line 100 metres off the eastern coasts of Bribie, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands) and west to Ipswich.

Crustaceans, other than those exempt, caught in the restricted area must stay within the area, unless they are cooked first, as cooking destroys the virus that causes white spot disease.

The movement restrictions also apply to frozen, uncooked crustaceans as freezing does not destroy the virus.

The following items must not be removed from the restricted area unless cooked first:

  • Prawns
  • Yabbies
  • Marine Worms

Penalties apply to anyone who breaches these restrictions.

Bait prawns (including freshly caught) sourced from outside the restricted area can be used, however, once brought into the restricted area, they cannot be moved back out.

To ensure the ongoing health of our marine habitat, fishers should only use Australian wild-caught prawns as bait purchased from a local bait supplier or catch your own. Imported, uncooked prawns may pose a risk for the introduction of serious diseases into our waterways.

Exemption for crabs, lobsters and bugs

Crabs, lobsters and bugs are exempt from the movement restrictions and can be taken out of the restricted area. As these animals are caught and sold for the sole purpose of being eaten, the risk of them being returned to natural waterways and spreading the white spot virus is negligible.

The exemption applies to spanner crabs, three spotted crabs, blue swimmer crabs, mud crabs, red champagne lobsters, slipper lobsters, tropical rock lobsters and bugs.

Fishing restrictions

To help prevent further outbreaks of white spot disease in South East Queensland, fishing is prohibited within 100 metres of water intake and outlet channels and in drainage channels used by land-based prawn farms in the Gold Coast City Division 1/Coomera electorate district. This includes line fishing and the use of other fishing equipment such as crab pots, cast nets and yabby pumps.

The restrictions apply to waterways surrounding prawn farms in Alberton, Coomera, Gilberton, Helensvale, Hope Island, Jacobs Well, Norwell, Ormeau, Pimpama, Southern Moreton Bay Islands, Stapylton, Steiglitz and Woongoolba.

Decontamination of fishing apparatus and vessel

It is recommended that all equipment and vessels used for commercial fishing within the white spot disease restricted area are cleaned thoroughly before leaving the area – this includes cast nets or crab pots. Visit the recommended procedure for decontaminating fishing apparatus and vessels for further information or to watch the video.

White spot disease surveillance

Find out information about white spot disease surveillance along the east coast of Queensland.

Financial assistance

For information on how to seek access to financial assistance, help with debt and bills, access to mental health services, information and support for job seekers, training and career information, visit the worker transition support page or Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).

More white spot disease information

Last updated 17 November 2017