Warning for fishers about white spot

Seafood for human consumption should not be used as bait as it can carry and introduce viruses such as white spot to WA waterways. Picture: Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

DUE to the serious effects of white spot and its ability to spread easily, people fishing off Yanchep and Lancelin have an important role in preventing the spread of the virus.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development biosecurity compliance manager Brad Tilley said all seafood for human consumption, especially imported raw prawns, should not be used as bait, as they could carry and introduce viruses to WA waterways and affect both farmed and wild prawns and other crustaceans.

Mt Tilley said fishers should check check their bait to make sure the prawns used were Australian wild-caught from a quality, trusted bait supplier, or catch their own in their local area.

He asked people to not dispose of crustacean waste including heads and shells in or near waterways.

Uncooked prawns and other seafood purchased from the supermarket or fishmonger are meant for human consumption only and shouldt not be used as bait.

He said white spot was a highly contagious virus that affected farmed and wild crustaceans including prawns, crabs and lobsters.

The virus does not pose a threat to human health or food safety.

Mr Tilley said the changed import requirements remained a precautionary measure, an approach that had served WA well during this outbreak.

“These updated requirements will be subject to review as new information becomes available,” he said.

“The new requirements follow a precautionary approach and will allow a larger buffer zone between the area of positive white spot detections and seafood supplies into Western Australia.

“WA continues to support the white spot management work being done in Queensland and locally to reduce the risk of white spot entering the state.’’

Fishers should also 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 on 1800 815 507, which operates 24-hours a day.