White spot disease information for recreational and commercial fishers

White spot disease

White spot disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects crustaceans. 

The disease has been confirmed in seven prawn farms. The seven infected premises are located on the Logan River. This latest detection confirms that all prawn farms in the region with stock are now infected with the white spot disease virus. 

Biosecurity Queensland is treating affected ponds with chlorine and is preparing for decontamination and disposal work. This is expected to take a number of months. 

Following the positive test results from wild caught prawns near the mouth of the Logan River in early February no further confirmed positive test results have been received, but more samples are in the process of being tested. Surveillance and sampling in all prawn farms and waterways in the region will continue. 

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

White spot disease does not pose a risk to food safety or people's health.

Movement restrictions

Biosecurity Queensland is advising recreational fishers on the Albert and Logan Rivers that they must not remove any yabbies, prawns, crabs or worms following the detection of white spot disease in local prawns.

The movement restrictions apply from the Jabiru and Luscombe Weirs to the mouth of the Logan River. These restrictions are part of urgent disease containment activities and apply under Queensland’s Biosecurity Act.

The following items must not be removed from the area detailed above:

  • Yabbies
  • Prawns
  • Crabs
  • Worms

Penalties may apply to anyone who breaches these restrictions. To report breaches, call the 24-hour Fishwatch hotline on 1800 017 116. 

Green, uncooked crustaceans may not show signs of the disease but could still be carriers.

The movement restrictions apply from the Jabiru and Luscombe Weirs to the mouth of the Logan River. These restrictions are part of disease containment activities and apply under Queensland's Biosecurity Act 2014.

Green/raw 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.

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

image of map displaying white spot movement control order

Fishing and cleaning out fishing gear

Fishing is allowed 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.

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

It is important that all bait is removed from hooks and other fishing equipment before leaving.

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 20 February 2017

Fishers must not remove any prawns, crabs, yabbies or worms from the area. Fishing is allowed and species other than prawns, crabs, yabbies and woms, 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.