A Gold Coast bait supplier who moved raw prawns outside the movement restriction area and sold them to a bait shop has been fined $10,000.
The defendant appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to charges of failing to comply with a movement control order.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the prawns were collected from the retail outlet by a government employee and sent to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory for testing and Australian Animal Health Laboratory for further confirmation.
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“Once the bait prawns tested positive for white spot syndrome virus all at-risk prawns associated with the consignment were immediately traced and removed from sale,” Mr Furner said.
“We also conducted surveillance in local rivers and dams in the area with all tests returning negative results.”
Mr Furner said it was very lucky the consignment was detected quickly and the bait recalled, otherwise someone could have unknowingly spread white spot disease to new waterways in the area.
“Commercial bait suppliers operating in the white spot disease restricted area should take heed from this and realise it is a criminal offence to move raw prawns, yabbies and marine worms out of the area,” he said.
The movement control order was made under the Biosecurity Act 2014 to safeguard the aquaculture industry, commercial fishers and the environment from further spread of white spot disease.
The restrictions are in place from Caloundra to the New South Wales border, and west to Ipswich for prawns, yabbies and marine worms.