How would Australia stop the spread of WSSV in shrimp/prawns?

Overseas, emergency harvest or culling is the first step to reduce the amount of infective material. This would be done on infected farms, and in neighbouring farms. This helps prevent spread into natural waterways, and creates a buffer zone. In emergency situations, there may be necessity to eradicate susceptible species in the wild. These would be temporary measures that will ensure limiting the disease spread. This latter step may sound drastic and against normal conservation efforts, but it may be the only way.

But there are ways to minimise environmental/ecosystem damage. How could you kill/cull/euthanase large populations of wild fish quickly, and needs to be in a manner that’s safe, effective, practical, economic, and be in a relatively humane way? If it were a finfish, saponin (the component in tea seed cake) is used as a specific piscicide, without affecting invertebrates. How about crustacea? We would be using chemicals that specifically target crustacea (e.g. chitin synthesis inhibitors, copper) or are more toxic to invertebrates than fish (e.g. organophosphates) to reduce environmental damage that might be associated with harsher chemicals. 

Now, what will you do on your farm?

If you farm any kind of crustacea (marron, yabbies, crabs, prawns, etc), consider conducting biosecurity audits, ahead of the disease-front.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Richmond Loh
DipProjMgt, BSc, BVMS, MPhil (Pathology), MANZCVS (Aquatics& Pathobiology), CertAqV, NATA Signatory.

Aquatic Veterinarian & Veterinary Pathologist.

Aquatic Veterinary Medical & Diagnostic Services.

Ph: +61 421 822 383


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