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Queensland shrimps hit hard by white spot

Rob Fletcher
Rob Fletcher
03 May 2017, at 1:00am

New outbreaks of white spot disease have been found in the wild prawn populations of Moreton Bay, Queensland, prompting fears that an additional number of shrimp farms in the area could face closure.

The disease has already closed seven prawn farms - leading to estimated losses of £25 million-worth of stock - along the Logan River in Southern Queensland and has been identified in the area’s wild prawn populations too.

While the disease is not harmful to humans, infected prawns die within 4 days of the disease being detected. The effects to the farmers are also devastating, with Biosecurity Queensland indicating it is unlikely the infected farms can recommence operations until at least 2018.

The disease is highly infectious and easily spreads to other crustaceans such as crabs, yabbies and lobsters. Each Australian State has implemented bans on importing Queensland prawns in an attempt to prevent further damage to the country's $360 million shrimp aquaculture industry. 

At this stage, the only way to treat white spot is to destroy the infected animals, then drain and decontaminate the affected farms, with ultra-violet disinfection amongst the best options, according to UV-Guard, Australia’s top supplier of UV water disinfection systems.