Project number: 2022-082
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $88,000.00
Principal Investigator: Craig Bell
Organisation: Professional Fishers Association (PFA)
Project start/end date: 30 Nov 2022 - 9 Aug 2023


The project aims to address 3 issues:
1. Improved in-field identification of aquatic pests by fishers over a longer term,
2. understanding the need for early detection.
3. Greater community and industry awareness of threats of aquatic biosecurity

Improved in-field identification of aquatic pests by fishers over a longer term
Most fishers need to be re-familiarised with WSSV and associated diseases. Although an Extension Program was run in response to the 2016 south east Queensland WSSV incursion, there is a need to refresh the local fishing industry about WSSV and what to keep an eye out for.

There is some belief that this is due to the fact that the original extension program was not supported with any continued material or instruction. The PFA believes that this can be addressed through linking Biosecurity and WSSV information into the fishers reporting devices. It is through constant reaffirmation of WSSV and other such biosecurity risks that it will remain forefront for the fishers

Understanding the need for early detection
It is understood that some fishers expressed reluctance in assisting in field surveys for WSSV as they were concerned about the negative impact such detection has to their immediate business. However, many case studies demonstrate that early detection can be the key in eliminating a biosecurity threat versus attempts to contain. The program will focus on the essential component within its materials and engagements

Greater community and industry awareness of threats to aquatic biosecurity
Previous campaigns did not target the high risk vectors - for example, recreational fishers using green imported prawns for bait are not likely to fish from boat ramp. A dedicated social media campaign to saturate popular platforms would be utilised to run a regular program.


1. To improve awareness of biosecurity threats to the commercial fishing industry of northern NSW, with a focus of WSSV
2. To improve awareness of the importance of early detection of biosecurity threats within the northern NSW commercial fishing industry
3. To improve greater awareness that the use of imported green seafood as bait has to the ecosystem amongst the NSW community

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