white spot disease prawns
A prawn affected by white spot disease. Photo: daf.qld.gov.au

More information on white spot disease


POSITIVE test results for the virus that causes white spot disease (WSD) in prawns have been received for a sixth aquaculture farm south of the Logan River.

Prawn stock on the sixth infected property has been harvested. Treatment of the ponds will now occur. There are eight farms in this area. Six have now been confirmed with the virus, one currently has no stock in its ponds, and one is still free of the virus. Surveillance is continuing.

Biosecurity Queensland will begin the process of draining ponds, drying out and managing sediment from the farms which have already been destocked. This is expected to take a number of months.

This week a single prawn taken from the Logan River has tested positive for the virus that causes white spot disease. This is only the second time the virus has been found in prawns in the river adjacent to the aquaculture farms at Alberton following a positive detection in early December 2016. Given there have only been a small number of positive detections from more than 8000 samples of wild-caught crustaceans, we are still working to understand if the virus is established in local waterways. Surveillance is continuing in the Logan River and other natural waterways.

Industry meetings

Biosecurity Queensland met with the prawn farmers impacted by this disease incident, along with key industry members and the white spot disease advisory panel.

The expert advisory panel presented their recommendations for future white spot disease management options. The panel members were selected for their expertise in aquatic animal health and disease management, biosecurity and white spot disease.

Their role is to provide an objective assessment of the options available and using their extensive experience provide critical advice to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome.

Biosecurity Queensland also met with commercial fishers and a recreational fishing representative to discuss white spot disease management under a range of possible future scenarios.


White spot disease (WSD) is a viral infection that affects crustaceans. Australia has previously been WSD free and this is the first confirmed case we have had in an aquaculture setting.

Prawns with WSD may have a loose shell with numerous white spots (0.5-2.0 mm in diameter) on the inside surface of the shell and a pink to red discolouration.

Signs to look for include:
• unusual mortality
• prawns coming to the edge or water surface of the pond
• prawns demonstrating unusual swimming patterns
• reduced feeding and failure to thrive
If you suspect a disease on your property you must report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Further information

Further information on white spot disease is available on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

Subscribe to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries aquatic pest and disease alerts for regular updates on the white spot disease response or click HERE for more information.

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One comment

  1. Hi,

    I’m Ketki

    I would like to contribute an article around “Aquaculture Market”

    If this is something you are willing to consider, we would send you an email, attaching the article.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Ketki Vaze

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