The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources established strict new import conditions and inspection and testing measures at the border 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. The import suspension ended on 6 July 2017, with the new import conditions taking immediate effect.
These conditions are proving effective in managing the risk of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and yellow head virus (YHV) in imported uncooked prawns and prawn meat.
As at 2 November 2017, 64 consignments have been imported under the enhanced import conditions, 55 consignments have tested negative for WSSV and YHV and one consignment has tested positive for WSSV.
Eight recently arrived consignments are currently being held under biosecurity control pending test results.
If a consignment returns a positive test result, importers have the option to request a retest through the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), or re-export, treat or destroy the consignment.
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.
While that process is undertaken, the enhanced import conditions establish conservative controls to ensure the protection of Australia's $3 billion fisheries and aquaculture industries and the health of our marine environment.
More information on the enhanced import conditions is available on the department’s website.