Biosecurity import restrictions on NSW bait prawns to protect WA fisheries

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has imposed import restrictions on NSW bait prawns as a precautionary measure after white spot disease (WSD) was confirmed at a prawn hatchery on the NSW north coast in August.

WSD is caused by white spot syndrome virus and affects crustaceans including prawns, crabs and lobsters.

WSD has not been detected in Western Australia, and there is no indication it has spread beyond the NSW facility where biosecurity containment measures are in place.

As a precaution, DPIRD has imposed temporary import restrictions while NSW investigates how the disease may have entered the facility and undertakes further testing.

DPIRD is working with WA bait wholesalers to undertake surveillance testing in WA.  Initial samples of bait prawns sourced from NSW have tested negative for the virus.

Further testing is also underway in other States, including NSW, and will be considered to assess the ongoing risk.

The detection of WSD in NSW serves as a good reminder to remain vigilant to prevent the disease from entering WA.

Follow the current import requirements for crustaceans, do not use raw prawns meant for human consumption as bait and do not dispose of prawn waste, including heads and shells, in or near waterways.

You’ll find more information on WSD prevention and reporting, as well as import requirements here.