White spot disease confirmed in some Moreton Bay prawns

16th March 2017 9:56 AM
UPDATED 12:27 PM
Bruce and Clancy Pearce of Fishermans Haul. Bruce is a 3rd generation in the seafood industry and 23 years in the business. King prawns Photo: Greg Miller / Gympie Times Greg Miller

UPDATE: THE State Government has placed a movement control order on the broader Moreton Bay region, following the discovery that the white spot prawn virus had spread into those waters.

Chief Biosecurity Officer Dr Jim Thompson said in a statement that further movement restrictions were needed to safeguard the state's multimillion industry.

"The new movement control order replaces the existing restrictions in place on the Logan River and extends from Caloundra to the NSW border following the eastern coasts of Bribie, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands," he said.

'To ensure that fishing and the local trade in fresh Moreton Bay seafood can continue, the movement control area will also encompass the western borders of the Gold Coast City council, Brisbane City Council and Moreton Bay Regional Councils.

"Fishing, crabbing and catching prawns can continue in Moreton Bay and catchments covered by the order, including the Logan and Albert Rivers but people will not be able to move uncooked crustaceans such as crab, prawns, yabbies, Moreton Bay bugs or marine worms, which can carry the disease, out of the area."

Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne on Thursday morning addressed a meeting of prawn farmers and told them that 41 samples of prawns taken from the Deception Bay and Redcliffe areas tested positive and Biosecurity officers have expanded their surveillance efforts.

Three different species of prawns tested positive, he told the meeting.

EARLIER: AN outbreak of white spot disease that has devastated southeast Queensland's prawn farming industry has spread into the wild with confirmed detections in Moreton Bay.

Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne is currently briefing commercial fishermen and will be meeting prawn farmers shortly.

It is understood there have been confirmed detections near Deception Bay and the Redcliffe Peninsula.

Mr Byrne is briefing commercial fishers now and will be meeting prawn farmers shortly.

The Courier-Mail has been told testing of a sample of prawns from the bay may have found the disease present in about 10 per cent of the sample.

The Palaszczuk Government has been contacted for confirmation of the findings.

Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne is due to address the media later today.