35-2017 - Update on temporary suspension of uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn products

​5 April 2017

Who does this notice affect?

This notice is of interest to importers of (certain/specific) uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat products and associated industry participants and retailers.

What has changed?

The Director of Biosecurity has varied the Biosecurity (Suspended Goods – Uncooked Prawns) Determination 2017 to exclude the goods list below in the Biosecurity (Suspended Goods – Uncooked Prawns) Amendment (Exceptions) Determination (No.3) 2017 (Amendment Determination No.3), under subsection 182 (1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Act).

  1. uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported overseas for processing, and re-exported to Australia (other than uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported to Thailand for processing in a facility approved by Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, and re-exported to Australia).

Amendment Determination No. 3 was signed on 3 April 2017. Note that this exemption comes into force 4 weeks from the day that the Amendment Determination No. 3 was registered.

Import conditions include assurance and certification by the overseas authority that the imported prawns are wild-caught prawns of Australian origin, processed at an overseas authority-approved establishment, with procedures in place to ensure segregation from non-Australian origin prawn products and other sources of contamination throughout transport, processing and storage. All batches of processed uncooked prawns must be certified by the overseas authority as free of white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) and yellow head virus (YHV) based on an OIE-recognised testing method to confirm freedom from disease. In addition, the prawns will be subject to increased inspections and testing for WSSV and YHV on-arrival in Australia.

The Director of Biosecurity has previously varied the Biosecurity (Suspended goods – uncooked prawns) Determination 2017 (Determination) under subsection 182(1) of the Biosecurity Act 2015, exempting the following goods from the suspension:

  • prawns sourced from Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone;
  • imported bait for aquatic use, pet fish food and aquaculture feeds which contain uncooked prawns and prawn meat;
  • dried prawns and shelf-stable prawn-based food products;
  • uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat sourced from Australian territory other than the area to which the white spot syndrome virus Movement Control Order1 relates;
  • uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported to Thailand for processing in a facility approved by Thailand’s Department of Fisheries, and re-exported to Australia; and
  • uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat (1) intended to be transhipped goods for outgoing passenger vessels engaged in international travels; (2) intended for use as laboratory or food samples for analysis.

These exemptions are a result of the department’s ongoing work to resume the safe trade in uncooked prawns and prawn products as soon as possible. This work includes reviewing the biosecurity risk presented by WSSV in uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat. The Director of Biosecurity agreed with the outcome of the review, which concluded that, subject to application of enhanced risk management measures, the above goods meet Australia’s appropriate level of protection with respect to WSSV.

The department is in the process of communicating to overseas authorities the new import conditions for uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported overseas for processing, and re-exported to Australia. Further information will be provided about countries that may be able to meet the import conditions, as this information becomes available.

Anyone wishing to import uncooked Australian wild-caught prawns exported overseas for processing, and re-exported to Australia, must apply for a new import permit using the department’s import conditions database – BICON. One permit application is required per country of export. Applications for eligible countries will not be accepted until four weeks after the determination has been registered.

Further information

Further information on these changes can be accessed on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Contact information

If you require further information please call 1800 900 090 or email Imports.

Biosecurity import conditions are available on the department’s Biosecurity Import Conditions database (BICON).

1. Movement Control Order Notice (Moreton Bay) – White Spot Syndrome Virus accessed from White spot disease information.