Recreational fishers 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.

Movement restrictions

To reduce the likelihood of white spot disease spreading, movement restrictions are in place. This means raw prawns, yabbies and marine worms cannot be removed from the white spot disease restricted area. This extends from Caloundra to the New South Wales border (following a line 100 metres off the eastern coasts of Bribie, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands) and west to Ipswich.

Crustaceans, other than those exempt, caught in the restricted area must stay within the area, unless they are cooked first, as cooking destroys the virus that causes white spot disease.

The movement restrictions also apply to frozen, uncooked crustaceans as freezing does not destroy the virus.

The following items must not be removed from the restricted area unless cooked first:

  • Prawns
  • Yabbies
  • Marine worms

Penalties apply to anyone who breaches these restrictions.

Bait prawns (including freshly caught) sourced from outside the restricted area can be used, however, once brought into the restricted area, they cannot be moved back out.

To ensure the ongoing health of our marine habitat, fishers should only use Australian wild-caught prawns as bait purchased from a local bait supplier or catch your own. Imported, uncooked prawns may pose a risk for the introduction of serious diseases into our waterways.

Exemption for crabs, lobsters and bugs

Crabs, lobsters and bugs are exempt from the movement restrictions and can be taken out of the restricted area. As these animals are caught and sold for the sole purpose of being eaten, the risk of them being returned to natural waterways and spreading the white spot virus is negligible.

The exemption applies to spanner crabs, three spotted crabs, blue swimmer crabs, mud crabs, red champagne lobsters, slipper lobsters, tropical rocklobsters, red claws and bugs.

Use of bait prawns

Prawns, yabbies or worms sourced from the white spot disease restricted area must not be taken out of the restricted area.

To avoid accidently spreading diseases it is important that fishers consider where their bait comes from before using it. Always use locally sourced, Australian, wild-caught prawns, yabbies or worms from a quality bait supplier, or catch your own close to where you intend to fish.

Prawns purchased from supermarkets that are meant for human consumption are not appropriate to be used as bait.

Fishers who use prawns from supermarkets may unknowingly introduce serious diseases into natural waterways.

More white spot disease information