White spot disease (WSD) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects crustaceans. It has been detected on three prawn farms on the Logan River, in south east Queensland near Brisbane.
The Department of Fisheries in Western Australia is now working with other agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), to coordinate actions to prevent WSD establishing in WA.
The risk of spreading the virus here is being reduced by restricting the import of all live or uncooked prawns, or parts of prawns and polychaete worms, from Queensland.
Prawns are the basis of Western Australia’s third most valuable commercial fishery, worth about $25 to $35 million annually. Prawning is a popular recreational activity here, especially around the Swan and Canning rivers near Perth and the Peel Inlet near Mandurah.
Recreational fishers can help to stop the spread of this virus by checking their bait for any signs of WSD and not use food grade prawns as bait. Please use the white spot disease alert to become aware of the distinguishing features of the disease.
Any prawns suspected to have WSD should be retained and reported to FishWatch on 1800 815 507 as soon as possible.
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