Recreational and commercial fishers and white spot disease

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 Peninsular 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, 366.3KB) 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).

A Prevention and Control Program (PDF, 1.6MB) and a Surveillance Program (PDF, 1001.5KB) are in place to help manage the disease.

Movement restrictions

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 detection were found near the Redcliffe Peninsular and Deception Bay.

The new movement control order replaces (PDF, 2.8MB) the existing restrictions in place on the Logan River and extends from Caloundra to the NSW border following a line 100 meters off 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, 366.3KB) for further details.

The following items must not be removed from the movement control area unless cooked:

  • Prawns
  • Crabs
  • Yabbies
  • Worms

The use of equipment such as cast nets, crab pots and yabby pumps is allowed in the movement control area, however, anyone wishing to remove crustaceans must cook them within the movement control area. Cooking crustaceans destroys the virus that causes white spot disease so there is no risk of spreading the disease.

Heavy penalties apply to anyone caught moving green uncooked crustaceans out of the movement control area. To report breaches, call the 24-hour Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. 

Crustaceans caught outside the movement control area can be brought into the area, however to be taken out, they must be cooked or a permit must be obtained from Biosecurity Queensland.

Crustaceans purchased from a retail outlet outside the movement control area and still in a commercially sealed package, can transit through the movement control area provided the crustaceans remain in their original sealed packaging.

image of map displaying white spot movement control order

Fishing and cleaning out fishing gear

Fishing is allowed in the movement control area and species other than prawns, crabs, yabbies and worms, may be removed from the area. It is recommended that all fishing equipment is cleaned thoroughly before leaving the area. This includes the removal of bait material from hooks and ensuring that crabs or prawns are not tangled in cast nets or crab pots before leaving the area.

The movement restrictions do not apply to molluscs (oysters and mussels).

Use of bait prawns

Bait prawns sourced from outside the movement control area can be used, however, fishers should not use prawns meant for human consumption as bait.

It is important that recreational fishers inspect their bait for signs of white spot disease. If you suspect white spot disease you must stop using the bait and notify Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. You will be given advice on what to do next.

If you need to remove empty crab pots or other fishing equipment from the river, it must be cleaned thoroughly before leaving the area.

How to report white spot disease

It is crucial 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.

More white spot disease information 

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Last updated 22 March 2017

Fishers must not remove any prawns, crabs, marine yabbies or marine worms from the area. Fishing is allowed and species other than prawns, crabs, marine yabbies and marine worms may be removed from the area. It is recommended that all fishing equipment is cleaned thoroughly before leaving the area. 

Bait prawns (including freshly caught) sourced from outside the movement control area can be used, however, once brought into the movement control area, bait prawns cannot be removed. Fishers should not use prawns meant for human consumption as bait.