Biosecurity conditions for imported prawns

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

The Australian Government continues to enforce stringent import conditions to manage the biosecurity risk associated with imported prawns and safeguard our valuable fisheries and aquaculture industries.

Measures to ensure Australia’s import conditions are being met include pre-border and border disease testing, retail testing, and working with exporting countries.

Enforcement action will continue to be taken against any importer found to be deliberately non-compliant with import requirements.

Enhanced biosecurity conditions for imported prawns and prawn products were put in place at the Australian border following an outbreak of white spot disease in 2016-17.

Since the recommencement of prawn imports in 2017, the department has continued to enhance the import requirements as the science has indicated. The department has also undertaken a full review of the biosecurity risk associated with the importation of prawns and prawn products.

As a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and as a partner in free trade agreements, we have obligations to allow trade where the science says it is safe to do so.

The department was intending to finalise the review for public release in February 2023. The department has delayed finalising this review following the detection of White Spot Disease in prawn farms on the northern NSW in February 2023.

As major stakeholders are engaged in managing the outbreak and supporting affected businesses in the region, the review will be finalised when stakeholders have time to focus on the scientific information and conclusions in the review.

The department will continue to monitor the current outbreak and will consider any new information that may impact the findings of the Prawn review and the timing of its release.

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