White spot disease update
The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is implementing an expanded movement control zone that encompasses Moreton Bay due to new positive detections of the virus that causes white spot disease in northern Moreton Bay. The recent detections were found near the Redcliffe Peninsula and Deception Bay.
The new movement control order (PDF, 2.8MB) replaces the existing restrictions in place on the Logan River and extends from Caloundra to the NSW border following the eastern coasts of Bribie, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands. View the map of the movement control area (PDF, 3.1MB) and our frequently asked questions (PDF, 193.4KB) for further details.
These biosecurity measures are supported by recommendations by the expert advisory panel, who have handed down their independent report into future management options of the disease (PDF, 566.1KB).
The information below provides updates on the current outbreak in Queensland, and advice on how to prevent a disease incursion on your farm.
A Prevention and Control Program and a Surveillance Program for white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) commenced on 21 January 2017.
The Prevention and Control Program (PDF, 1.6MB) focuses on containing the spread of WSSV and ultimately its eradication through targeted destruction and decontamination of WSSV carriers.
The Surveillance Program (PDF, 1001.5KB) will aid in confirming the presence or absence of WSSV by testing wild and farmed crustaceans across the state, including crustaceans and marine worms used for bait.
White spot disease email updates
Subscribe to email updates and view previous updates for the latest information on the white spot disease emergency response.
Prawn farmers need to ensure appropriate biosecurity measures are in place on their farm which includes sourcing disease free stock and animal feed.
Make sure livestock, water, visitors and staff, and equipment that are coming onto, and leaving the farm are clean. Equipment and footwear should be disinfected in addition to being cleaned.
Visit the Farm Biosecurity Program for biosecurity tips and advice
All aquaculture farms should have a disease management plan including standard operating procedures that can be implemented in the event of a disease outbreak.
Following notification to Biosecurity Queensland of your suspicion of disease, your disease management plan should be immediately implemented to limit the spread of the disease within your premises and to protect healthy animals.
As well as advising Biosecurity Queensland of a disease, you should work to immediately contain the disease by:
- isolating any animals showing signs of disease in separate ponds and tanks;
- stopping water flow from these ponds into the surrounding environment and between ponds;
- applying movement controls on all equipment, including vehicles and machinery;
Following immediate containment, Biosecurity Queensland will take further measures to eradicate the disease from the premises. This will include additional containment and management measures to limit spread and will include:
- strict movement controls on prawns, vehicles, machinery and humans;
- bird mitigation measures;
- crab control;
- tracing and surveillance;
- destruction of all affected ponds; and
- disposal and decontamination.
Emergency harvest may be considered as part of the destruction strategy to reduce prawn biomass and aid in disposal and decontamination activities.
How to report white spot disease
It is critical that all aquaculture operators, commercial and recreational fishers and other waterway users report unusual signs in prawns (including bait) and other crustaceans.
Early detection provides a better chance of being able to contain and eradicate this serious disease.
If you see crustaceans that you suspect have the disease it is important to take note of the location and time and report this information immediately to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or through our online white spot disease reporting form. Alternatively phone the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.
Compensation for affected farmers, commercial fishers and bait retailers
The Queensland Government has clearly determined compensation provisions for responses under Chapters 10 and 11 of the Biosecurity Act 2014. Under the Act, there are two forms of compensation - scheme compensation and statutory compensation.
Scheme compensation for losses incurred during a response can be paid under eradication response agreements between the States, the Commonwealth and particular industry sectors. These Agreements are the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD), the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA) or the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA).
The deeds outline that where a Queensland government and industry assistance or compensation scheme has been established, eligibility for, and payment of, any compensation will be determined by and limited to the arrangements (formula and conditions) for prescribed in the agreement.
Unfortunately, the deeds above do not cover the aquaculture industry and whilst the industry had begun development of their own deed, it is not finalised yet.
Statutory compensation is a limited safety-net for loss or damage that is not covered by a compensation scheme or a policy of insurance. Statutory compensation is only applicable for loss or damage that was not, or would not have become infected or infested, such as stock or crops that are destroyed to create a buffer zone around an outbreak.
There are specific exclusions for a person receiving statutory compensation, including that the loss or damage to property that would likely have become infested or infected with the biosecurity matter (white spot syndrome virus) which is the subject of the biosecurity action (biosecurity emergency).
There is no evidence that statutory compensation provisions have been triggered for this response.