The department is constantly reviewing and updating import conditions for the external territories.
Public comments on proposed changes to import conditions for prawns and prawn products are being received via firstname.lastname@example.org until 4 December 2020.
The purpose of the proposed amendments is to ensure import conditions for these goods continue to manage biosecurity risks to a level that achieves Australia’s Appropriate Level of Protection (ALOP). Australia’s ALOP is expressed as a very high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to a very low level but not to zero.
Proposed changes to import conditions for prawns and prawn products
The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is proposing changes to import conditions for prawns and prawn products for human consumption, brought or imported into the Australian external territories of Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands.
The changes are proposed to protect the unique crustacean species present on Australia’s territorial islands (including Christmas Island red crabs and robber crabs, mantis shrimp and mud crabs) from exotic crustacean diseases such as white spot disease. All decapod (10-legged) crustaceans are susceptible to infection with the virus that causes white spot disease, including prawns, crabs and crayfish, both marine and freshwater, or terrestrial (land dwelling). White spot disease is not dangerous to humans, however the disease can have a significant impact on crustacean populations once introduced.
By ensuring Australia’s import conditions are applied consistently we can help to maintain our disease-free status and protect the health of Australia’s farmed and wild crustacean populations.
More information on white spot disease is available on our webpage.
Under current practice, all uncooked prawns, cooked prawns, breaded, battered and crumbed (BBC) prawns and highly processed prawn products imported directly into Norfolk Island from mainland Australia do not require an import permit or health certification. An import permit is required for uncooked prawns, BBC and highly processed prawn products if sourced directly from countries other than mainland Australia. Cooked prawns sourced from countries other than mainland Australia do not require an import permit but are subject to import conditions requiring health certification signed by the relevant competent authority of the exporting country.
The proposed changes will allow uncooked prawns, cooked prawns, BBC prawns and highly processed prawns sourced from mainland Australia to continue entering Norfolk Island without the requirement for an import permit. However, these prawns must be accompanied by proof of purchase from mainland Australia (such as a commercial receipt) and may be subject to inspection. The conditions for importing prawns directly into Norfolk Island from countries other than mainland Australia will remain unchanged and current import conditions will continue to apply.
Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands
Prawns are currently excluded (exempted) from Subsection 6(2) of the Biosecurity (Conditionally Non-prohibited – Goods Cocos (Keeling) Islands) Determination 2016 and the Biosecurity (Conditionally Non-prohibited Goods – Christmas Island) Determination 2016. This means that currently all categories of prawns (including uncooked prawns, cooked prawns, breaded, battered and crumbed (BBC) prawns and highly processed prawns) can be imported into Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands from either mainland Australia or overseas without the requirement for an import permit or imposition of biosecurity risk management measures.
The proposed changes will allow uncooked prawns, cooked prawns, BBC prawns and highly processed prawns sourced from mainland Australia to enter Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands without the requirement for an import permit. However, these categories of prawns must be accompanied by proof of purchase from mainland Australia (such as a commercial receipt) and may be subject to inspection.
The proposed changes also seek to align the external territories’ import conditions for prawns sourced from countries other than mainland Australia with Australia’s enhanced import conditions. The proposed changes would require a valid import permit and an official government health certificate signed by the competent authority in the exporting country to import uncooked prawns, BBC prawns or highly processed prawn products directly into Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands from countries other than mainland Australia. Cooked prawns imported directly into Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands from countries other than mainland Australia would not require an import permit but must be accompanied by health certification signed by the competent authority in the exporting country.
Note: Prawns and prawn products from mainland Australia include prawns farmed or caught in Australia and prawns imported into the Australian mainland that have been released from biosecurity control.
For more detail on the proposed changes, including specific requirements of official government health certificates, please access the factsheet below:
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