White spot update
As of 16 June 2017, a new white spot biosecurity regulation (PDF, 967KB) has come into effect that maintains movement restrictions for high-risk animals such as prawns, yabbies and marine worms out of the white spot restricted area that extends from Caloundra to the NSW border.
Under the regulation an exemption now exists for low-risk species such as crabs, lobster and bugs. They can now be moved out of the restricted area raw, however anyone wishing to move these species interstate must check the importation requirements of the destination state before doing so.
|Name||White spot disease|
|Scientific name||White spot syndrome virus is the causative agent causing white spot disease. White spot syndrome virus belongs to the genus Whispovirus.|
|Cause||The disease is caused by white spot syndrome virus.|
White spot disease is a highly contagious viral disease of decapod crustaceans.
|Where the disease occurs||
White spot disease is widespread throughout prawn farming regions in Asia and has become established in prawns farmed in the Americas where it has caused severe losses on prawn farms.
Australia is one of the few countries in the world with a prawn farming industry that has previously remained free of white spot disease.
Detection in Logan River region
The disease has been confirmed in seven prawn farms located on the Logan River. This is the first confirmed case of white spot disease in an aquaculture setting.
The virus that causes white spot disease has been found in a number of wild caught prawns and crabs taken from the Logan River region and Moreton Bay.
|Affected marine life||
Decapod crustaceans including, but not limited to, prawns, lobsters and crabs are susceptible to the infection.
|Effect on other species||
Marine worms are considered to be carriers of the disease.
Fin fish are not affected by the disease and are not a carrier of the disease.
The white spot disease detected in South East Queensland is not the same disease that can infect ornamental/aquarium fish. White spot in aquarium fish is a parasitic skin infection and not related to white spot disease.
Prawns with white spot disease may have a loose shell with numerous white spots (0.5-2.0 mm in diameter) on the inside surface of the shell and a pink to red discolouration.
|Identifying white spot disease||
Signs to look for include:
While other crustaceans such as crabs can be carriers of white spot disease, they may not display any visible signs and must not be moved from the movement control area.
Refer to the images above.
|Spread of the diseases||
The disease is primarily spread through the movement of infected animals or contaminated water. Birds that feed on and move infected animals can spread the disease
|Control of the disease||
White spot disease has the potential to cause significant financial impact to the farmed prawn industry.
The farmed prawn industry in Queensland is worth approximately $87 million annually. The gross value of prawn production in Australia in 2015-16 was worth $413 million, and in 2015, employed 5000 people.
|Risks to human health||Prawns infected with white spot disease do not pose a risk to food safety or human health.|