The Fisheries Division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is continuing to call on recreational fishers to do their bit to prevent white spot being introduced into Western Australia.
White spot is a highly contagious viral disease that affects crustaceans.
It is not known to be present in WA, but a widespread outbreak here could pose a serious threat to crustaceans including prawns, crabs, lobsters and marron.
Since December 2016 white spot has been detected on prawn farms and in the aquatic environment in South East Queensland and, in order to protect this state, the WA government has in place a prohibition on the entry of all live and uncooked crustaceans and worms from parts of QLD and NSW (see map).
These measures compliment the Australian Government’s recent implementation of enhanced import conditions, including white spot testing, following the lapsing of the six-month suspension on all overseas imports of uncooked prawns. Senior Biosecurity Management Officer Marion Massam said their strategies were aimed at safeguarding our State’s highly valued fisheries and all fishers have been urged to support the efforts to keep white spot out.
“Recreational fishers, for example, must not use as bait any imported uncooked prawns or other crustaceans intended for human consumption,” Ms Massam said.
“Some fishers might be tempted to buy such prawns as bait, but it’s not worth taking the risk.
“When you weigh this up against the potential loss of prized catches like prawns and marron, if white spot was introduced to our State, it’s an easy decision to talk to your local bait supplier about alternative baits or even better only buy locally caught WA bait.”
Fishers should check their bait prawns or other crustaceans for signs of white spot and any thought to have the disease should be retained and immediately reported to the FishWatch hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, on 1800 815 507. More information can be found at www.fish.wa.gov.au.