Project number: 2017-238
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $159,800.00
Principal Investigator: David Mann
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 28 Jun 2018 - 28 May 2020


The prawn aquaculture industry is committed to a strategy of enhanced farm biosecurity to reduce the potential for production losses caused by disease agents. This has been brought to the forefront of development priorities for industry by the recent white spot virus incursion into southern Queensland, but it is also driven by considerations that current farming practices are vulnerable to other disease agents that could emerge in the future. It is well recognised by aquaculture disease experts and the industry that a critical pathway for disease incursion is via the water sourced from local waterways which for Australian prawn farms is the adjacent estuarine creek or river. Treatment of farm influent water to eliminate or reduce disease agent load, particularly that associated with live vectors of disease, such as crustaceans or fish, is seen as the most basic course of action to address farm exposure to this risk.

In consultation with local and international technical experts, industry has identified that filtration and some type of chemical disinfection is the most practical approach for prawn grow-out farms. However the level of information available on design criteria and effectiveness of proposed treatment systems is lacking, particularly in relation to Australian farming conditions. Information derived from overseas experiences of farming prawns under threat of multiple diseases has been instructive, but due to significant differences in farming systems, the local industry sees a need to generate additional information that has direct relevance to Australian farms and practices. Given the anticipated high investment by farms to implement significant upgrades to water treatment practices, improved information for systems design parameters and relative risk reductions for different options under consideration are a high priority.


1. Provide the Australian prawn farming industry with robust locally-generated information for practical farm influent-water treatment methods essential for optimising biosecurity investment.
2. Assessment of the impact farm influent water filtration and oxidative disinfection has on the plankton blooms in prawn production ponds and their management.
3. Evaluation of the capacity for influent water filtration over a range of mesh apertures to reduce the presumptive risk of WSSV transmission onto prawn farms via plankton vectors.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-7345-0469-2
Authors: David Mann Paul Palmer Stephen Wesche Tom Gallagher
Final Report • 2021-05-01 • 5.42 MB


This project assessed the performance of mechanical filtration as a means by which Australian prawn farmers could lower the risk of disease agent transfer into farms by selective removal of disease hosts and other vectors naturally present in farm source water. The project sought to provide technical detail for the effectiveness of water filtration options to control the risk of disease incursions and investigated the impacts of water treatment on production pond dynamics and productivity.  This report provides a number of recommendation that relate to design and operation of rotating drum filters that are considered important to achieving a high level of influent water biosecurity when implementing a single pass filtration on commercial prawn farms.

Related research


Evaluation of point of care (POC) tests for White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV)

1. Determine the analytical and diagnostic performance characteristics (ASe, ASp, DSe, DSp, repeatability and applicability) of three commercially available immunochromatographic WSSV POC test kits for the detection of WSSV in clinically-affected prawns.
CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory