White spot disease in aquaculture farms

Disease management plan for aquaculture farms

All aquaculture farms should have a disease management plan including standard operating procedures that you can implement in the event of a disease outbreak. This is a standard condition of your development approval under the Planning Act 2016.

Firstly notify Biosecurity Queensland that you suspect disease, and then immediately implement your disease management plan to protect healthy animals on your farm and in the surrounding environment.

To immediately contain the disease:

  • isolate any animals showing signs of disease into separate ponds and tanks
  • stop water flow from these ponds into the surrounding environment and between ponds
  • apply movement controls on all staff and equipment, including vehicles and machinery that could spread the disease.

When you have contained the disease outbreak, Biosecurity Queensland will provide advice on how to deal with the disease. This may include added additional containment and management measures to limit spreading, such as:

  • strict movement controls on prawns, vehicles, machinery and humans
  • bird mitigation measures
  • crab control
  • tracing and surveillance
  • destruction of prawns in all affected ponds
  • disposal of affected animals and decontamination of affected ponds and equipment.

Emergency harvest may become part of the destruction strategy to reduce prawn biomass and aid in disposal and decontamination.

How to report white spot disease

All aquaculture operators must report unusual signs in prawns and other crustaceans.

Early detection provides a better chance of being able to contain and eradicate this serious disease.

If you see crustaceans that you suspect have the disease, take note of the location and time, and report this information immediately to Biosecurity Queensland by the following:

On-farm biosecurity

As a prawn farmer, you need to ensure appropriate biosecurity measures are in place on your farm, which includes sourcing disease-free stock and animal feed.

You need to ensure that crustaceans, water, visitors, staff and equipment coming onto and leaving the farm are clean. Equipment and footwear should be cleaned and disinfected.

Find out more about biosecurity planning in Australia.

White spot disease updates

For updates on the current outbreak in Queensland, and advice on how to prevent a disease incursion on your farm: