White spot syndrome virus is the causative agent causing white spot disease. White spot syndrome virus belongs to the genus Whispovirus
Queensland prawns test negative for white spot disease
Tuesday, July 23, 2019, 05:50 (GMT + 9)
The latest round of surveillance tests conducted by Biosecurity Queensland show no signs of white spot disease in South East Queensland waters, more than two-and-a-half years after the virus devasted the big prawn farms on the Logan River.
It’s a big relief for the prawn farmers whose stocks were destroyed after white spot disease was first discovered two-and-a-half years ago, and who have restocked their production ponds again, said Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner.
Prawn and marine worm samples were taken from a number of locations within Moreton Bay, Logan and Brisbane Rivers and all returned negative results.
“This is the second consecutive surveillance round conducted by my department which has returned negative results for the virus that causes white spot disease,” minister Furner said.
“If another round of tests next year is negative Queensland and Australia would be declared free of white spot disease. But this means everyone must continue to remain vigilant to ensure the disease is contained and does not spread,", he added.
Australian Prawn Farmers Association President Matt West said all his members have their fingers crossed hoping the white spot outbreak is over.
“Affected businesses have gone through a lot of financial and mental stress with our Logan farms having to shut down for lengthy periods with the sole purpose of eradicating the disease,” Mr West said.
“Everyone has done an amazing job, but we’ve had a wake-up call to remain vigilant, not just for white spot but other diseases coming into the country.
“It’s imperative we boost exotic disease testing regimes at our borders to prevent any other major disease outbreaks.
“An end to the white spot disease outbreak would be very good result indeed, not only for the Logan farmers but Queensland’s prawn farming industry, which is currently enjoying a considerable, state-wide, expansionary phase.
“Established aquaculture companies and major new entrants are spending millions and millions of dollars expanding their farms or constructing some new large-scale operations.
“There’s such unlimited demand for our prawns. Seafood suppliers take everything we can produce.”
White spot disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects crustaceans, prawns and crabs, but it is not harmful to human health and these seafoods are safe to eat.
Additional biosecurity measures are in place on the Logan prawn farms where white spot disease was first detected to protect the farms from disease incursions.
Line fishing is still not permitted around the prawn farm inlet and outlet channels and this measure will remain enforced at this time. So will movement restrictions for raw prawns, yabbies and marine worms in South East Queensland.
Three of Seven Logan prawn farms restocked their ponds last summer and the biggest operator and harvested around 421 tonnes of their much sought-after prawns. Although well down on prior to the disease outbreak, production is set to double again later this year.
The battling Logan prawn farmers got another much-needed boost after the owners of Gold Coast Marine Aquaculture won the prestigious Champion Prawn and the Champion Aquaculture Product Trophy at the Sydney Royal Show, which sets the quality bench mark for all Australian seafood.