Identifying and reporting disease in aquaculture

Report significant aquatic animal diseases and deaths as soon as possible. This allows serious pathogens to be confirmed, managed and contained early to minimise widespread and detrimental effects on the industry and the natural environment.

Use the field guide on Aquatic animal diseases significant to Australia to assist you with identification. If in doubt, you should contact Biosecurity Queensland and seek expert advice.

You are responsible for reporting disease

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, if you are aware of a biosecurity risk, you are obligated to take reasonable and practical measures to minimise the risk. As a precaution you should report any suspected serious disease, even if you haven't identified which infectious disease it is.

If you are the holder of an aquaculture development approval or permit, you are also responsible for reporting unusual mortality.

As a guide, you should notify Biosecurity Queensland of a disease if there are any unusual deaths in conjunction with any 2 of the following:

  • animals coming to the edge or water surface of the pond, tank or cage
  • animals demonstrating unusual swimming patterns
  • reduced feeding and failure to thrive
  • unusual changes in the physical appearance of the animal such as
    • red or black colouration of prawn
    • ulcers or mouldy growth on skin
    • blackening of skin
    • pop eye
    • erosion of fins and tails
    • fouling of gills.

After you notify Biosecurity Queensland of a suspected disease incident, they will determine an appropriate course of action (e.g. site inspection, sample collection).

Biosecurity Queensland offers a free laboratory diagnostic service when investigating a disease or mortality incident on your farm. If you simply require health testing for commercial purposes, there is a fee for this service.

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