A NSW Government website


To protect native species and reduce the risk of diseases being introduced the Australian Government does not allow importation of any live penaeids into Australia. This importation restriction acknowledges the very serious disease problems in other countries from diseases such as Yellow Head and White Spot viruses. See Department of Agriculture and Water Resources for details of prawn import risk analysis.

White Spot

White Spot, also known as infection with white spot syndrome virus (WSSV), was detected in prawn farms in south east Queensland in late November-early December 2016. In August 2022, White Spot was detected in an enclosed facility at a prawn farm in northern NSW, which was contained to the facility, with no evidence of White Spot found in wild prawns.

This disease poses no threat to human health. For the latest information:

Monodon Baculovirus (MBV)

Monodon Baculovirus (MBV) has been recorded in Australia although this appears to have been a problem in hatcheries where prawns were cultured under sub-optimal conditions. Good management practices at the hatchery level, including washing fertilised eggs and nauplii with clean seawater have been shown to be effective in controlling MBV.

Mourilyan virus (MOV) and Gill Associated Virus (GAV)

Mourilyan virus (MOV), gill associated virus (GAV) and spawner isolated mortality virus have been identified in eastern Australian prawns although MOV and spawner isolated mortality virus are currently considered exotic to NSW. Some of these viruses have caused problems in prawn aquaculture in Queensland, but little is currently known about these diseases. However, Fisheries Queensland and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are working on the development of disease-free stocks in an attempt to minimise the effects of these diseases on the prawn aquaculture industry.