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 New South Wales 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

Fishing restrictions now apply around prawn farms in South East Queensland. For further details including a map of the restricted area, visit our white spot disease fishing restrictions page.

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, 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.

More white spot disease information