White spot disease alert for commercial fishers

Movement restrictions for high-risk animals such as prawns, yabbies and marine worms are in place. This means they cannot be moved out of the white spot disease restricted area that extends from Caloundra to the New South Wales border and west to Ipswich, unless cooked first.

If you are using prawns as bait make sure they are Australian wild-caught from a quality bait supplier or catch your own. Using imported raw prawns as bait may introduce serious diseases into our waterways.

Read tips on how to catch your own bait or download the white spot disease information guide (PDF, 2.3MB) for details on white spot disease and movement restrictions.

Report suspected cases of white spot disease to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or complete an online report, and keep up-to-date with the latest white spot disease e-news.

Movement restrictions

To reduce the likelihood of white spot disease spreading, movement restrictions are in place. This means that raw prawns, yabbies and marine worms cannot be removed from the white spot disease restricted area which extends from Caloundra to the New South Wales border (following a line 100 metres off the eastern coasts of Bribie, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands) and west to Ipswich.

If you catch crustaceans (other than those listed as exempt below) in the restricted area, you can't take them out of the area unless you cook them first. Cooking destroys the virus that causes white spot disease.

The movement restrictions also apply to frozen, uncooked crustaceans as freezing does not destroy the virus.

The following items must not be removed from the restricted area unless cooked first:

  • prawns
  • yabbies
  • marine worms.

Penalties apply to anyone who breaches these restrictions.

Bait prawns (including freshly caught) sourced from outside the restricted area can be used, however, once brought into the restricted area, they cannot be moved back out.

To ensure the ongoing health of our marine habitat, fishers should only use Australian wild-caught prawns as bait purchased from a local bait supplier or catch your own.

Exemption for crabs, lobsters and bugs

Crabs, lobsters and bugs are exempt from the movement restrictions and can be taken out of the restricted area. As these animals are caught and sold for the sole purpose of being eaten, the risk of them being returned to natural waterways and spreading the white spot virus is negligible.

The exemption applies to spanner crabs, three spotted crabs, blue swimmer crabs, mud crabs, red champagne lobsters, slipper lobsters, tropical rock lobsters and bugs.

Decontamination of fishing apparatus and vessel

It is recommended that all equipment and vessels used for commercial fishing within the white spot disease restricted area are cleaned thoroughly before leaving the area – this includes cast nets or crab pots. Read more about the recommended procedure for decontaminating fishing apparatus and vessels.

White spot disease surveillance

Learn about white spot disease surveillance along the east coast of Queensland.

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