Monday, December 12, 2016

12/12/2016: White spot prawn disease believed to be contained within aquaculture industry, Australia

By Marty McCarthy and Charlie McKillop, ABC Rural

According to authorities it is unknown how a devastating prawn disease got to aquaculture farms in Queensland, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) says.

In a news piece recently published on ABC Rural, it was reported that Biosecurity Queensland is in the process of destocking and decontaminating ponds at two aquaculture farms south of Brisbane, and neighbouring farms are being checked to ensure it has not spread.

Image: Rob and Stephanie Levy
However the corporation said white spot disease has not yet been detected in any wild prawn populations in Australia. "There is no clear idea of where it came from," the FRDC's Peter Horvat said.

"[At this point in time] investigating the vector or pathogen's pathway into Australia isn't the priority, the clear focus is to contain and eradicate the white spot virus."

The disease does not pose any health risks to humans, but can cause major crop losses for prawn farmers. Contain and destroy White spot disease is widespread in Asia and in the Americas, but this is the first time it has been detected on prawn farms in Australia.

Establishing the pathway of a biosecurity incursion can help to identify if there are any other infected properties or areas.

However Mr Horvat said authorities needed to first make sure the disease was contained and destroyed.

"You have got to deal with the crisis that is with them right this second, so they need to contain it and stop it from going any further."

The affected prawn farms are on the Logan River, south of Brisbane, but the FRDC said the disease has not yet been detected in nearby wild prawns.

"There is a testing program being run through Biosecurity Queensland and industry to test not only prawn farms in the area, but also undertaking surveys up and down the Logan River," Mr Horvat said.

"They are being tested regularly and to date there is no evidence that the disease has left the farm, the goal is to make sure we never let that happen."

Read the full original article HERE.

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