Prawn killer reappears
A disease that threatens the local seafood industry has been discovered again.
White spot disease has been found by Biosecurity Queensland officials on two farms on Queensland’s Logan River.
Routine surveillance testing carried out last month also detected the disease in the wild in Moreton Bay.
Authorities are now working to ensure the highly contagious viral infection is contained. They say it is almost impossible to tell how the disease re-emerged.
Biosecurity Queensland has launched a review of all prawn farms to ensure future on-farm biosecurity management can deal with the new detection.
The disease devastated seven Queensland prawn farms in 2016 and cost farmers and associated industries almost $400 million, but it was thought to have been eradicated, and so its emergence has taken the industry by surprise.
The state was just months away from two years of consecutive negative results for white spot syndrome virus, which would have earned it official proof of freedom.
“This is not the result we wanted to see but we will get through this and now more than ever we should be supporting our local seafood industry,” Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said this week.
White spot disease can be fatal for crustaceans, prawns and crabs, but has no effect human health, meaning affected prawns that have already gone to market are safe to eat.
The Queensland Seafood Industry Association spokesperson Eric Perez said the affected farms were at the end of harvesting.
“It's not great news but nothing really changes; it's business as usual,” he told ABC Radio.