Creating a prosperous, sustainable and healthy Northern Australia

Biosecurity in northern Australian prawn aquaculture

Biosecurity in northern Australian prawn aquaculture
  • Reference # A.1.1718113
  • Timeframe 2 years
  • Project Status Current
  • Location Cardwell, Ingham , Mossman, Ayr, Logan, Townsville
  • Total project value $690,755.00
  • Project manager Ian Biggs
  • Research Programs 1. Building potential in Northern Australia
  • Aquaculture


This project will deliver one of the most comprehensive biosecurity audits of prawn aquaculture farms in Northern Australia. The audit is seeking to identify known and unknown pathogens and develop risk management strategies for industry.

This project is twofold.  Firstly, it will conduct a biosecurity metanalysis using traditional and molecular diagnostic tools to establish what pathogens currently occur on prawn aquaculture farms (i.e. the farm pathobiome) and how they relate to productivity. Secondly, it will develop a risk management strategy for industry and provide on-farm biosecurity training, so industry can continue to monitor and manage pathogens.

Researchers will visit farms from Mareeba in the Far North to Logan in the state’s South-East, to assess and determine the level of preparedness of biosecurity practices and protocols currently in play.  They will work with stakeholders to assist in the improvement or formulation of enterprise-level biosecurity plans.

Expected outcomes

  • Increased biosecurity awareness and capacity to monitor disease may decrease production losses to 10-20 per cent (from 2- to 30 per cent) which would translate into increased production of circa $16 million per annum.
  • Enhanced early detection protocols for emerging pathogens may prevent future catastrophic industry closures, such as the recent exotic white-spot syndrome virus outbreak in southern Queensland, which cost the industry $25 million in lost production in 2017.



12 October 2020

Biosecurity in Northern Australian prawn aquaculture

Type: Report

Industry: Aquaculture