Budget expenditure: $64,800.00
Project Status:
Principal Investigator: Ben Diggles
Organisation: DigsFish Services Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 29 Jun 2020 - 29 Dec 2020
Fisheries Management
Crustacean Fisheries
Black Tiger Prawn
Freshwater Prawns
King Prawns
Banana Prawns
Tiger Prawns


This project was developed to document biosecurity protocols used on affected prawn farms on the Logan River in the two growing seasons since they restarted following shut down after the 2016-17 WSD incursion. Opportunistic sampling of non-commercial crustaceans (plankton, small crustaceans) was also undertaken in northern Moreton Bay and the Logan River during April and May 2020 at a time when it was known that WSSV was active in the environment. These samples have been archived and a stop work stage of the project has been enacted upon completion of this fieldwork.

If required, the samples collected can be tested by qPCR for WSSV in order to determine if they were acting as WSSV vectors and/or reservoirs in the Logan River and northern Moreton Bay. This information would be useful to inform the design of more detailed epidemiological studies of the distribution of WSSV in the environment of SE QLD that may be undertaken in the future. Review of the biosecurity protocols the prawn aquaculture industry in the region have implemented since 2016-17 to exclude WSSV vectors from their farms will also be undertaken to determine what worked, and what didn't. This information can then be used to inform biosecurity planning for the prawn farming industry on the Logan River moving forward to identify best practice for WSSV exclusion, in order to increase their chances of successfully farming prawns in the presence of the virus and reduce risk of WSSV spillback into wild crustacean fisheries.


1. Interview prawn farmers and collect and archive field samples of potential WSSV vectors (microcrustaceans, small crabs, plankton)
2. After approval to conduct testing is obtained, testing of vector samples at BSL by qPCR to determine their WSSV status. Examine sub-samples of populations of any WSSV positive vector species using histopathology to determine if the presence of the virus is accompanied by pathological lesions or WSD disease.
3. Development of a report which combines the results of the vector testing with the outcomes of the onfarm biosecurity assessment to arrive at better understanding of how WSSV may be persisting in the environment of SE QLD, how the virus may be gaining entry into prawn farms on the Logan River, and how to improve prawn farm biosecurity to reduce risk of WSD outbreaks on prawn farms and WSSV spillback into wild fisheries.

Related research


Attendance at the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, Tenure and User Rights Conference in Yeosu, Korea 10 to 14 September 2018

1. 1. Oral presentation on the delegated Ministerial powers provided to Officers of the Spencer Gulf West Coast Prawn Fishermen’s Association to set short term management arrangements in the SGPF.2. To increase the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of fisheries management arrangements applied...
Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)