Cricket legend and avid fisherman Andrew Symonds is the face of a new campaign warning fishers not to use raw or cooked supermarket prawns as bait (Photo: DAF)

September 13, 2017

The State Government has launched an advertising campaign to warn anglers not to use supermarket prawns as bait in an effort to prevent the spread of white spot and other foreign diseases.

Minister for Fisheries Bill Byrne said using products such as raw and imported prawns as bait could unknowingly introduce serious diseases into Queensland’s waterways.

“The campaign we are launching today asks all fishers to check their bait before they go out fishing to make sure it is Australian wild-caught bait from a quality bait supplier, or to catch their own,” Mr Byrne said.

“We all need to do our bit to help protect our natural waterways and our fishing and aquaculture industries by making sure diseases aren’t introduced or spread.”

To help get this message out to Queensland fishers, cricket legend and keen fisherman Andrew Symonds has come on board as the star of the campaign, featuring in a video advertisement and a series of posters.

“Andrew reminds us to not use prawns from the supermarket as bait as they are meant for human consumption only. He then hooks a big snapper with some prawns he caught himself, which reinforces the message to catch your own bait or buy it from a quality bait supplier,” Mr Byrne said.

“It is also important to remember to put all of your unwanted seafood scraps in the bin and not into waterways, as uncooked prawn waste could introduce disease that could devastate our aquaculture industries and our natural environment.”

White spot disease, which is widespread in Asia and the Americas, was found in the Logan River in December 2016.

In order to contain its spread in the Moreton Bay area, movement restrictions are in place from Caloundra to the New South Wales border and as far west as Ipswich, which means all prawns, yabbies and marine worms caught in the restricted area must stay there.

“If you’re catching bait from the restricted area these holidays make sure you don’t take it out of the area, as doing so could spread the disease into other waterways,” White Spot disease program director Kerrod Beattie said.

“If you are not sure where the restricted area is then go to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries webpage to view the map.”

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