Friday 6th January 2017 - 7:03 pm

Don’t come the raw prawn with us:Barnaby

by Alan Thornhill

Don’t come the raw prawn with us:Barnaby

Australia is suspending green prawn imports because it believes that some firms involved in the lucrative trade have been deliberately avoiding measures designed to protect the Australian trade from the effects of white spot disease are being deliberately avoided.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, who announced the decision appealed to Australians not to eat raw prawns from those countries.
He said Australia is cracking down on green prawn imports following suspected deliberate contravening of the nation’s strict biosecurity controls.
Criminal charges are being pursued against one importer, with another four under investigation.


“Australia’s $358 million prawn industry must be protected and not put at risk by the careless and selfish acts of a few,” Mr Joyce said.


“I welcome advice by the Director of Biosecurity that he will be suspending importation of raw prawns from White-Spot affected countries.


“We will not be taking any chances.


“Five farms on Queensland’s Logan and Albert River area have been decontaminated, while another two are under quarantine. Welfare of Australian farmers must always be front of mind.”

Don’t come
The source of the outbreak is still being investigated, however one possible cause is White Spot infected raw prawns sold only for human consumption being used as bait.


“Please do not use raw imported prawns as bait,” Mr Joyce said.
“There is no risk to human health from White Spot – but it poses a serious risk to our farmers.


“This is the first use of the suspension power since the new <em>Biosecurity Act 2015</em> came into force, which was part of the Coalition Government’s stronger border policies to ensure better targeted and rapid responses to biosecurity threats.”
Mr Joyce also said: “Australia imported around 48 thousand tonnes of prawn products (including fresh frozen and processed prawns) at a value of around $620 million in 2015/16.


He said   these were imported from 27 countries – the top five countries by volume were Vietnam, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Mr Joyce said almost 12,000 consignments of raw prawns imported over the past three years (as at the 30 June 2016)

All had been inspected and tested.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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