11-2017 – Update on temporary suspension of uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn products

​6 February 2017

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to importers of (certain/specific) uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat products and associated industry participants and retailers.

What has changed?

The Director of Biosecurity has varied the Biosecurity (Suspended goods – uncooked prawns) Determination 2017 (Determination) under subsection 182(5) of the Biosecurity Act 2015

The Director of Biosecurity has agreed to exempt the following goods from the suspension:

  • dried prawns and shelf-stable prawn-based food products,
  • irradiated bait for aquatic use, pet fish food and aquaculture feed; and
  • uncooked prawns sourced from Australia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Australian caught prawns are not exempt if they have been exported to another country for processing.

This exemption is a result of the department’s ongoing work to resume the safe trade in uncooked prawns and prawn products as soon as possible. This work includes the assessment of the biosecurity risk presented by white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) on uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn products which is underway. The Director of Biosecurity agreed with the outcome of the assessments concluding that these goods pose a very low risk of introducing prawn diseases into Australia, including WSSV.

Import permit holders will be advised that their goods are no longer subject to the suspension.

Further information

  1. Prior to the suspension, various preparation methods for dried prawns and shelf-stable prawn-based food products were approved for import without an import permit.
    1. The 2009 Import Risk Analysis on prawns and prawn products considered that shelf-stable food products containing prawns, such as dried prawns, canned prawns or condiments containing prawns as an ingredient (for example prawn balachan, shrimp paste etc.) were unlikely to come into contact with live crustaceans in Australia.
    2. The preparation methods for dried prawns and shelf-stable prawn-based food products, and the very low likelihood that these products will come into contact with susceptible species mean that they pose a negligible biosecurity risk.

  2. Imported bait for aquatic use, pet fish food and aquaculture feed products, containing uncooked prawns and prawn meat, are subject to physical treatments that eliminate the prevalence of viable WSSV.
    1. These products are irradiated on-arrival with a 50kGray dose of gamma radiation at an approved irradiation facility which is sufficient to mitigate the risk of WSSV.

  3. Prawns sourced from Australia’s EEZ are considered to be either free of WSSV or to have a very low prevalence of the virus. There have been no reported outbreaks of WSSV in Australia linked to prawns from Australia’s EEZ
    1. Australia’s territorial waters are considered free of WSSV, and it is reasonable to consider that prawns in the EEZ have an equivalent disease status.
    2. WSSV is a notifiable disease in Australia and has not been reported in prawns from the EEZ.

Contact information

If you require further information please call 1800 900 090 or email Imports.

Biosecurity import conditions are available on the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions database (BICON).

Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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