The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has established strict new import conditions to support the safe resumption of trade in uncooked prawns and prawn meat.
The Director of Biosecurity suspended all imports of uncooked prawns on 6 January 2017 for a period of six months. The import suspension will end on 6 July 2017, with the new import conditions taking immediate effect.
All future imports of uncooked prawns—including marinated, breaded, battered and crumbed prawns—will be subject to 100 per cent inspection at the border to ensure they comply with our import conditions.
High-risk products—including uncooked prawns, marinated prawns and Australian prawns processed overseas outside an approved Australian Government supply chain—will be subject to 100 per cent testing at the border for WSSV and YHV.
Only those prawns that pass testing for both WSSV and YHV at an approved screening laboratory will be released from biosecurity control.
These import conditions are in addition to new requirements that exporting countries certify that all high risk prawn products are free of WSSV and YHV prior to export.
This certification must be based on sampling and testing methods recognised by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
The enhanced import conditions will remain in place until the department's review of the biosecurity risks of, and import conditions for, prawns and prawn products for human consumption is finalised.
The review will include a comprehensive scientific analysis of the biosecurity risks associated with prawn imports from all trading partners, a process expected to take up to two years.
While that process is undertaken, the enhanced import conditions establish conservative controls to ensure the protection of Australia's $3 billion dollar fisheries and aquaculture industries and the health of our marine environment.
For more information, see Biosecurity Advice 2017-12 - End of prawn suspension and import conditions for prawns and prawn products for human consumption on the department's website.