“CLEAN and green…..and we want to keep it that way!”
This is the attitude of Hunter River professional prawners who take great pride in the high standard of their produce.
Long time Tanilba trawler man Robert Hamilton has this to say:
“Our credibility as reliable suppliers of quality prawns is paramount,” said long time Tanilba trawler operator Robert Hamilton.
“When there were pollution concerns over run-off from RAAF Williamtown, we even stopped working the river.”
“The Hunter River had not been tested but we still shut down for a season to maintain the high reputation we had worked so hard to achieve over such a long time.”
This season has seen a reasonable catch with prices rising for wild caught Hunter prawns and there is a reason for this.
An outbreak of the deadly ‘white spot’ disease in the Logan River and nearby prawn farms in Queensland could very well spread.
It came from imported green Asian prawns.
A breakdown in quarantine protocols is believed to be the reason why it arrived.
With a blanket ban on green imports, Hunter prawns are in high demand and wholesale prices are increasing.
Sadly, all is not well in the prawning industry as Robert explains:
“We were very concerned some ten years ago about ‘white spot’ and the possibility of native prawn stocks being infected. We made our feelings known but really weren’t listened to.”
“No outbreak has yet been found in the northern NSW rivers and we hope the problem is isolated to Queensland.”
By Geoff WALKER