Come the raw prawn on Aussie aquaculture

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
23 July 2007, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - A significant increase in the number of fishers using prawns sold for human consumption as bait/berley is creating a disease pathway for the introduction of exotic diseases into Australias marine and aquaculture resources.

Australian Prawn Farmers Association executive officer Scott Walter says survey results confirm the need for further tightening of raw prawn imports, since random testing of supermarket prawns last year revealed all were carrying one or more diseases that pose a risk to Australia’s wild and farmed crustaceans.

APFA is awaiting the release this week of an announcement regarding the potential introduction of interim quarantine conditions tightening disease-testing standards for the importation of raw prawns and prawn products.

"An incident in 2000 in Darwin where uncooked imported prawns were used as feed for mud crabs and prawns that subsequently developed White Spot Syndrome Virus sparked Biosecurity Australia to undertake its current Import Risk Analysis (IRA) on prawns and prawn products," Walter says.

"That was a warning sign that this disease pathway presents a real threat to Australian marine species and as volumes of raw imported product known to be disease-carrying increase, there is an exponential likelihood of these diseases having a long-term negative impact on Australia’s valuable aquaculture industries and the environment."

Source: Blues County Magazine