Australia suspends import of raw prawns

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 9th January 2017

Australia has suspended the import of raw green prawns from White Spot disease affected countries.

Announced by Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, the suspension comes as criminal charges are being pursued against one importer suspected of breaking Australia’s biosecurity laws. Another importer is being investigated.

“Australia’s $358 million prawn industry must be protected and not put at risk by the careless and selfish acts of a few,” Joyce said.

“We will not be taking any chances. Five farms on Queensland’s Logan and Albert River area have been decontaminated, while another two are under quarantine. Welfare of Australian farmers must always be front of mind,” he said.

The source of the White Spot disease outbreak is being investigated but a suspected cause is White Spot infected prawns sold for human consumption being used for bait.

“Please do not use raw imported prawns as bait,” Joyce said.

The import ban is the first time suspension powers outlined in the new Biosecurity Act 2015 have been used.

In 2015/16 Australia imported approximately 48 thousand tonnes of prawn products valued at approximately AUD $620 million.

White Spot disease is a viral infection which is highly lethal and contagious for prawns.

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