White spot fear brings fishing exclusion zone to NSW
IT will be a huge blow for anglers who planned to wet a line in the holidays with a six month closure of waters immediately adjacent to three operational prawn farms at Yamba.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) announced the closure to mitigate risk of spreading white spot disease to the farms.
White spot disease is a highly contagious viral disease which affects various crustacean species and has caused severe impact on the south-east Queensland farmed prawn industry.
The closure is seen as a pre-emptive measure as DPI spokesperson Dr Geoff Allan said white spot disease has not been detected in NSW.
"DPI is introducing the closure as an interim measure while prawn farmers develop on-farm risk management strategies for the virus," he said.
"One measure identified to reduce the risk of infected prawns entering prawn farms is to prevent recreational fishing in close proximity to farms.
"White spot disease does not pose a threat to human health or food safety.
"It is crucial that people fishing or crabbing in our waterways do not use prawns intended for human consumption as bait or berley as this could spread the virus to new areas.
"The closure applies to waters on either side of the three prawn farms property boundaries and approximately 100 metres offshore."
The closure is declared under Section 8 of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 and will be in force until June 22, 2018.
Dr Allan said recreational fishers should refer to specific details of affected areas on the DPI website.