Aquaculture 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.

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 fishing 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.

How to report white spot disease

It is critical that all aquaculture operators report unusual signs in prawns 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.

On-farm biosecurity

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

Disease management

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 provide advice to the farm to help deal with the disease situation. This may include additional containment and management measures to limit spread, such as:

  • 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.

The information below provides updates on the current outbreak in Queensland, and advice on how to prevent a disease incursion on your farm.

Concessional loans

Prawn farmers in the Logan and Albert River catchments whose operations have been disrupted by white spot disease can now apply for up to $3 million in low interest finance to aid their recovery.

The low interest loans are designed to enable the prawn farmers to improve biosecurity controls, diversify their farming to include other marine species and improve the productivity and viability of their enterprises.

Prawn farmers who were directly impacted by the disease should contact Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) to receive full details of the assistance available.

Find out more about this assistance and the application process online, or Freecall 1800 623 946.

More white spot disease information

Last updated 17 November 2017