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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Biosecurity incidents

White spot disease

December 2016

On 1 December 2016 white spot disease was confirmed at a prawn farm in South East Queensland and has since spread to several nearby farms.

White spot disease causes prawn mortality and has severely affected prawn aquaculture worldwide. If transmitted to Western Australia the disease has the potential to severely impact marine and freshwater WA fisheries such as prawns, crabs and lobster.

White spot disease is caused by a virus known as white spot syndrome virus. The disease, and the virus that causes it, were both exotic to Australia.

Response efforts are being coordinated nationally to assist Queensland and the Department of Fisheries is taking precautions to minimise the threat to WA.

The disease does not pose a threat to human health or food safety.



​Prawns with white spot disease may have a loose shell with numerous white spots on the inside surface of the shell and a pink to red discolouration.

Further information

More information about the response to the incident in Queensland can be found at the Federal Government’s national pest and disease outbreak website

For information about white spot disease visit the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.

Last modified: 25/07/2018 4:21 PM

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