Biosecurity and the Australian prawn industry

Wednesday, 11 July, 2018

Biosecurity and the Australian prawn industry

The most comprehensive audit of prawn pathogens in aquaculture ever undertaken is being conducted by James Cook University (JCU) researchers in association with the Australian Prawn Farmers’ Association (APFA).

The industry-led project will run over a two-year period, with the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) contributing $340,000 in funding. The total project value is $759,831.

Tony Charles from the APFA said biosecurity is a leading focus of the APFA and broader industry.

“The research will allow industry to gain detailed knowledge of the pathogens that are currently affecting production and potentially identify previously unknown and emerging threats.”

JCU’s Professor Dean Jerry said the latest molecular tests and technologies will be used to detect and identify specific endemic or emerging pathogens from farms at Mossman in Far North Queensland, to Logan in the state’s south east.

“Gathering data from different farms will, for the first time, provide an important industry benchmark of pathogens which can potentially impact prawn aquaculture,” he said.

“The data will provide critical insights on threats to production and inform the tools required to help better manage potential pathogen threats.

“It is possible new pathogens that have gone under the radar will also be found,” he said.

Charles said the work will be crucial in strengthening the industry’s resolve and help towards implementing proactive biosecurity measures.

It is expected the project will decrease production losses caused by pathogens from 20–30% to 10–20% annually and increase production by around $16 million a year.

CRCNA Chief Executive Officer Jed Matz said the broad reach of the research is why the project had the support of the CRCNA.

“This project has the potential to provide long-term benefits for the Australian prawn aquaculture industry, by increasing biosecurity awareness and enhancing the capacity to monitor pathogens.”

Image: ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding.

Originally published here.

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