Media statement: Inspector-General of Biosecurity white spot review

​The Inspector-General of Biosecurity provides a valuable independent perspective and is one of the critical mechanisms to assess and improve how we manage Australia’s biosecurity.

The department has reviewed the final report and is implementing the recommendations.

While the cause of the white spot disease outbreak in Queensland is unknown, the report did identify improvements that could be made to biosecurity controls for imported prawns.

As the report notes, many key issues have already been identified and swiftly addressed by the department and other stakeholders.

Enhanced import conditions and strict inspection and testing measures are now in place to support the safe resumption of trade in uncooked prawns and prawn meat.

These conditions are in addition to new requirements for exporting countries to certify that all high risk prawn products are free of white spot syndrome virus and yellow head virus prior to export.

A review of the biosecurity risks of, and import conditions for, prawns and prawn products for human consumption is currently underway. This review will involve a comprehensive scientific analysis and broad consultation and is expected to take several years to complete.

The department continues to work with the Queensland Government and prawn farmers to enable a rapid recovery from the impacts of white spot disease and to ensure stronger arrangements are in place for future disease outbreaks.

Australia’s management of this issue demonstrates the importance of our biosecurity system in responding swiftly and effectively to biosecurity risks.

The department is committed to ensuring the protection of Australia's​ $3 billion fisheries and aquaculture industries and the health of our marine environment.

The full report and the department’s response to the recommendations is available at the Inspector-General of Biosecurity website.

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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