Project number: 2012-050
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $84,536.00
Principal Investigator: Alan Lymbery
Organisation: Murdoch University
Project start/end date: 24 Jun 2013 - 27 Apr 2015


This application is developed following the first detection of the bacterium, Edwardsiella ictaluri, in Australian native catfish species. This bacterium is known to cause significant economic losses in aquaculture catfish industries in the USA and south-east Asia. The bacterium is listed in the reportable aquatic disease lists in Australia and regionally in OIE/NACA (Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-pacific). Previous bacterial detections in Australia have been sporadic and limited to imported exotic aquarium fish species. The susceptibility of Australian native fish species to the bacterial infection was unknown prior to 2010, and Biosecurity Australia’s last Import Risk Analysis in 1999 on live ornamental finfish did not consider the bacterium would have significant impact on native Australian species. However, it is now established that Australian native catfish species are susceptible to the bacterial infection. It is desirable to conduct a well-designed targeted survey to look for the bacterium in wild fish populations, and to provide evidence to support Australian’s wild fish populations are free from the disease.


1. 1. Design a targeted survey for Edwardsiella ictaluri in wild catfish in rivers in northern Australia to establish disease freedom with 95% confidence at prevalence less than 5%
2. 2. Conduct an active survey of wild catfish populations in river systems in northern Australia for the presence of Edwardsiella ictaluri by appropriate lab tests

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