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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin


    Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries
    The Honourable Tim Mulherin

    Friday, December 22, 2006


    Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin today again reminded recreational fishers not to use imported prawns as bait these holidays as they may carry viruses harmful to local prawns.

    Mr Mulherin said imported green (uncooked) prawns could carry exotic viruses which if introduced could have devastating consequences for the Australian prawn fishing and farming industries.

    “Testing conducted by the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries found imported green (uncooked) prawns purchased at some supermarkets in Queensland carried White Spot Syndrome Virus and Taura Syndrome Virus,” he said.

    “While these prawn diseases will not harm humans, they have the potential to cause damage to wild and farmed prawn industries.”

    Mr Mulherin said the Australian Government had refused his call for an interim ban on imported green prawns while Biosecurity Australia’s draft import risk analysis (IRA) was out for public comment.

    “While the draft report released late last month recommends stronger measures to manage quarantine risks posed by some prawn and prawn products, I believe the risk of waiting a further 90 days for consultation, is too great,’’ he said.

    “Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Peter McGauran disagreed and while this is disappointing for the Queensland industry, DPI&F will continue to maintain a tough stance on imported green prawns.

    “As part of our commitment to protecting the state’s industry, DPI&F will continue its own sampling and testing program for imported prawn products.

    “We will make a detailed submission to the IRA and continue our discussions with Biosecurity Australia.”

    Mr Mulherin said if imported uncooked prawns were used as bait or berley by recreational fishers, diseases could be spread to our prawn stocks. Imported prawn food scraps dumped in creeks, rivers or the ocean will also threaten native prawn stocks.

    “I encourage recreational fishers to use only Australian prawns as bait and to ensure that all prawn scraps are dumped in land-based refuse tips.”

    DPI&F officers will be meeting with industry to discuss the Queensland Government’s response to the import risk analysis.

    Media: 32396530