The CRCNA’s Improving Biosecurity in Northern Australian prawn aquaculture project, completed by researchers from James Cook University’s Aquaculture department, has delivered the most comprehensive multi-pathogen survey ever completed of Australian Prawn Farming.

During the past 2 years, the JCU AquaPATH laboratory team completed over 25,000 tests, to international testing standards, to complete the research and no study of similar scale has been published globally. This project is indicative of the commitment of the Australian Prawn Farming Industry and the CRCNA to research and develop global best practise in biosecurity management in prawn farming.

The final project report has been delivered in an exciting time for Australian Prawn farming, with the industry predicting a 4-fold increase in production during the next 10 years. The absence of detection of the crustacean pathogen that causes white spot disease from the two current broodstock fisheries that support industry, indicates industry has access to WSSV free animals to establish industry domestication programs that will underpin future improvements in sustainability and profitability in Australian prawn farming.

The Australian Prawn Farmers Association (APFA) and the CRCNA recognised a need to continue strengthening farm biosecurity to mitigate the risks where possible posed by endemic pathogens.

Based on the disease tracking completed in this project, some pathogens are represented in the production system via entry in the broodstock stage, but don’t invariably lead to disease outbreaks in grow out systems. As there are no treatments for viral infections in prawns, understanding how to reduce the presence of disease-causing viruses in the production system and having farming practises that maintain high health prawns was recommended by the project team.

A range of new technologies are emerging in Aquacultural Science to support the expansion of the industry in Northern Australia and the CRCNA’s continuing investment provides an opportunity for agricultural industries in Northern Australia to link with researchers to develop state of the art farming systems in tropical aquaculture production.

For more information

Carla Keith, CRCNA Communications Manager 0499 330 051

Kim Hooper, Australian Prawn Farmers Association