Recreational and commercial fisherman have been asked to remain diligent in checking for white spot, as the disease continues to affect fish stocks in Queensland.
The seventh and last prawn farm on the Logan River has been closed down due to the highly contagious disease, with fishing operations throughout Queensland also being closed down to control its spread.
The disease, which can affect shellfish and is highly contagious, has lead to a strengthening of quarantine laws around the country, including in Peel’s own healthy seafood industry.
Recfishwest spokesman Isaac Tancred said while White Spot is highly dangerous and contagious, Peel and the sate’s quarantine regulations are designed for situations like this.
“Recfishwest have been informed by [the Department of Fisheries] that the disease has been detected throughout parts of Queensland’s Logan River prawn farm stocks and has made its way into wild populations,” he said.
“No reports of the disease have spread to WA yet.”
Mr Tancred said Fisheries was working closely with other organisations and agencies to coordinate actions to prevent White Spot from establishing in WA.
“White Spot is a disease of crustaceans and has potential to spread and infect our valuable blue swimmer crab and rock lobster stocks,” he said.
”Recfishwest recommends that people do not use any raw food grade prawns as bait and that any prawns from bait suppliers be inspected for the tell-tale white spots on the inside of the shell on the head of the prawn and be sure to report anything that resembles the disease.
“Patience may be required through this time as bait prawn imports could be delayed. It is our recommendation to consider using alternative baits until the issue is resolved. Note that cooked affected prawns pose no risk for human consumption but it is important that no raw prawn material enters the water.”
More information on White Spot Disease can be found at the Department of Fisheries’ website, fish.wa.gov.au.