The latest extensive state-wide testing of thousands of prawns and crabs for the virus that causes white spot disease indicates the virus has not spread to other parts of Queensland and may not be established in Moreton Bay.
Acting Fisheries Minister Anthony Lynham says the negative results were very encouraging.
“All tests on 4,122 prawn and crab samples collected from April to the end of September from 38 locations from Moreton Bay to Cairns, and including the Logan River and Brisbane River, were negative and that is extremely good news for the industry.”
“These tests indicate the disease control activities are effective in stopping the spread of the virus and that is why the movement restrictions will remain in place at this time.”
“These results will contribute to the national proof of freedom surveillance required to regain international disease-free status for white spot disease. We need to have two years of consecutively negative test results to prove the disease is no longer present in Australian waterways.”
“Testing will recommence in early 2018 when the seasonal prawn population is bigger.”
The Minister praised Logan River prawn farmers and Moreton Bay commercial fishers for their contribution to the eradication program.
“White spot disease has been devastating on those farmers and fishers and their co-operation at this difficult time is greatly appreciated. “
“The biosecurity response to white spot disease has so far cost tax payers more than $15 million on the and this is expected to increase to more than $25 million over the next two years.
Prawn farmers who had stocks and operations obliterated by the outbreak have had $20 million in concessional loans made available to them.
More than 50,000 samples from prawn farms and natural waterways have been tested since the initial detection last December.