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ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS

Metapenaeus endeavouri, Metapenaeus ensis

  • Darren Roy (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • James Larcombe (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Fisheries, Western Australia)

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) EGPMF Sustainable Catch, survey catch rate
Western Australia North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) KPMF, NBPMF, OPMF Sustainable Catch
Western Australia Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) SBPMF Sustainable Catch
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
OPMF
Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
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Stock Structure

Endeavour Prawns includes two species, Blue Endeavour Prawn Metapenaeus endeavouri, and Red Endeavour Prawn M. ensis that are generally not distinguished in fisheries. Although the two species are caught in differing proportions in different regions, Blue Endeavour Prawns are increasing dominating catches further to the west.

Endeavour Prawn fisheries are located in Shark Bay, Exmouth Gulf, the north coast of Western Australia, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Torres Strait and the east coast of Queensland. Little is known about the biological stock structure of the populations of Blue and Red Endeavour Prawns that make up these fisheries. The majority of catch reported in this chapter is Blue Endeavour Prawn, with Red Endeavour Prawn represented in the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (less than 20 per cent of the catch1) and in the Northern Prawn Fishery (20–40 per cent of Northern Prawn Fishery harvest annually).

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn), Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth); Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries (Blue Endeavour Prawn), Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia); and East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Queensland).

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Stock Status

Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

The Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia) contributes the majority of the commercial landings of Blue Endeavour Prawns in Western Australia. There is no formal assessment for Blue Endeavour Prawns, which are a by-product species whose distribution partly overlaps with that of Brown Tiger (Penaeus esculentus) and Western King Prawns (Melicertus latisulcatus) and are caught when fishers are targeting these two species7. However, fishery-independent recruitment surveys of Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns also record the abundance of Blue Endeavour Prawns on these grounds, providing an annual recruitment abundance index expressed in terms of survey catch rate for this species. In 2015, the mean catch rate index for the Blue Endeavour Prawn (on Brown Tiger Prawn grounds) of 17 kg per hour was above the 10-year mean (2005–14) of 13.5 kg per hour. On the Western King Prawn grounds, the catch rate index of 20 kg per hour was well above the 10-year mean (2005–14) of 13 kg per hour. There has been no declining trend in the fishery-independent survey catch rates over the periods sampled in either of these fishing grounds. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the stock is unlikely to be recruitment overfished.

A target catch range is set at 120–300 t, based on historical catches between 1989 and 1998, a period when the stock was considered to be moderately exploited7 and retention rates varied due to the abundance of the key target species (Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns) as well as market demand. Total catch in 2015 (397 t) was above the target catch range and the average catch over the past 15 years (201 t)7, as a direct result of the higher recruitment and increased abundance observed. In the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery management unit, a significant portion of the breeding biomass is protected by the Brown Tiger Prawn spawning closures8 and an additional portion of the Blue Endeavour Prawn biomass occurs inshore of the key fishing grounds for Brown Tiger Prawns, which are permanently closed. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia) Blue Endeavour Prawn management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

Blue Endeavour Prawns are landed in low numbers in the North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries, as they are a minor bycatch species when targeting Banana Prawn or Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns. In the past 10 years (2005–14) the landings of Endeavour Prawn in these minor fisheries has been between 2 and 23 t. The total combined catch for all the fisheries in 2015 was 2 t.

Based on the evidence provided above, the North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries (Western Australia) Blue Endeavour Prawn management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

Blue Endeavour Prawns are landed in low numbers in the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery, as they are minor retained species when targeting Brown Tiger or Western King Prawns. The landings in the past 10 years (2005–14) have been between 1 and 23 t. Landings in 2015 were 22 t; that is, within this range. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment overfished. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment overfished.

 

Based on the evidence provided above, the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia) Blue Endeavour Prawn management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn biology8,11–14

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS 1–2 years; 200 mm  TL  ~6 months; females 24–26 mm  CL, males ~18 mm  CL
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns

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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Various
Indigenous
Unspecified
Recreational
Unspecified
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Vessel restrictions
Active vessels
Western Australia
6 in EGPMF, 10 in NBPMF, 18 in SBPMF
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 396.69t in EGPMF, 565.00kg in KPMF, 151.00kg in NBPMF, 511.00kg in OPMF, 22.40t in SBPMF
Indigenous 0t
Recreational 0t
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
OPMF
Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)

a Commonwealth – Recreational The Commonwealth Government does not manage recreational fishing. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under their management regulations.
b Queensland – Commercial (management methods) Recreational fishers are permitted to catch Endeavour Prawn, but are unlikely to catch them in large amounts due to the distribution of this species group.
c Commonwealth – Indigenous The Commonwealth Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing (with the exception of the Torres Strait). In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the states or territory immediately adjacent to those waters. In the Torres Strait both commercial and non-commercial Indigenous fishing is managed by the Torres Strait Protected Zone Joint Authority (PZJA) through the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (Commonwealth), Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (Queensland) and the Torres Strait Regional Authority. The PZJA also manages non-Indigenous commercial fishing in the Torres Strait.
d Queensland – Indigenous In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), indigenous fishers are entitled to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Full exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns

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Effects of fishing on the marine environment

  • There is typically a high proportion of bycatch, relative to retained product, in otter trawl fisheries. Post-release survival of bycatch species is variable15.
  • The use of bycatch reduction devices is mandatory in all Australian tropical prawn trawl fisheries. Use of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) reduced turtle bycatch from 5700 individuals per year before 2001 to around 30 per year after 200116. The introduction of TEDs in the Western Australian prawn trawl fisheries in 2003 reduced turtle bycatch by more than 95 per cent17.
  • Spatial closures afford some protection to the marine environment from the physical effects of trawling. In Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) occupies 63 per cent of the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Queensland) (ECOTF)18, 34 per cent of which is open to trawling9. However, effort is highly aggregated, occurring within only a small fraction of the open area. In Western Australia, extensive permanent and temporary closures result in the fleet operating in only seven per cent of the Shark Bay region, less than 30 per cent of the Exmouth Gulf, and less than three per cent of the north coast region. Fishing operations are restricted to areas of sand and mud, where trawling has minimal long-term physical impacts19–22. The Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) (NPF) also uses a system of closures (spatial and seasonal) to manage the fishery, as well as other input controls (for example, limited entry, gear restrictions). A total of 2.1 per cent of the total managed area of the fishery is subject to permanent closures, while 8.3 per cent is subject to seasonal closures23. The Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) also employs spatial and temporal closures which are used to protect small prawns, but also important habitat areas for breeding populations of turtles24.
  • An assessment of trawl-related risk in the GBRMP found that the ECOTF posed no more than an intermediate risk of overfishing some species assemblages exposed to trawling25.
  • Interactions with species protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, such as sea snakes and seabirds, are routinely monitored.
  • The NPF has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council since November 2012.
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Environmental effects on ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS

  • Nursery grounds (such as seagrass beds) are important for maintaining Endeavour Prawn stocks in the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth). Management strategies therefore involve the closure of significant nursery areas to trawling to protect stocks26.
  • Prawn distribution can be driven by environmental factors. For example, in a study on the distribution of Endeavour Prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Blue Endeavour Prawns were found to be most abundant in the south-eastern gulf and shallower parts of the western gulf, where sediments were either sand or muddy sand27. The highest abundance of Red Endeavour Prawn was in the north-eastern gulf and in deeper areas of the western gulf, where sediments were more than 60 per cent mud28. However, in Torres Strait, Blue Endeavour Prawns were equally abundant on all substrate types12.
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References

  1. 1 Turnbull, C, Mellors, J, and Atfield, J 2004, Fisheries Long Term Monitoring Program: A Summary of Tiger and Endeavour Prawn Survey Results: 1998-2002, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  2. 2 Buckworth, RC, Hutton, T, Deng, R, Upston, J 2016, Status of the Northern Prawn Fishery Tiger Prawn fishery at the end of 2015 with TAE estimation for 2016, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, 2016.
  3. 3 Venables, W and Dichmont, C 2004, GLMs, GAMs and GLMMs: an overview of theory for applications in fisheries research, Fisheries Research, 70: 319–337.
  4. 4 Larcombe, J and Bath, A, 2016, Northern Prawn Fishery, in H Patterson, R Noriega, L Georgeson, I Stobutzki and R Curtotti (eds), Fishery status reports 2016, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
  5. 5 Turnbull, C, Tanimoto, M, O’Neill, M, Campbell, A, and Fairweather, C 2009, Torres Strait Spatial Management Research Project 2007–09, final report for DAFF Consultancy DAFF83/06, Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Brisbane.
  6. 6 Williams A and Mazur, K 2016, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery, in H Patterson, R Noriega, L Georgeson, I Stobutzki and R Curtotti (eds), Fishery status reports 2016, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
  7. 7 Fletcher, W (ed) 2016, State of the fisheries and aquatic resources report 2014/15, Western Australian Department of Fisheries, Perth.
  8. 8 Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Moore, N, Cavalli, P and Fisher, EA. 2015, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series 1: 273 pp.
  9. 9 Wang, N, Wang, Y-G, Courtney, AJ and O’Neill, M, 2015, Application of a weekly delay-difference model to commercial catch and effort data for tiger prawns in the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery, PhD Thesis, University of Queensland and Queensland Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
  10. 10 Turnbull, C and Gribble, N 2004, Assessment of the northern Queensland Tiger and Endeavour prawn stocks: 2004 update, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  11. 11 Kailola, PJ, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichelt, RE, McNee, A, and Grieve, C 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources, Bureau of Rural Resources and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  12. 12 Keating, J, Watson, R, and Sterling, D 1990, Reproductive biology of Penaeus esculentus (Haswell, 1879) and Metapenaeus endeavouri (Schmitt, 1926) in Torres Strait, in Mellors, J (ed.), in Torres Strait prawn project: a review of research 1986–1988, Queensland Department of Primary Industries Information Series, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
  13. 13 Somers, I, Poiner, I, and Harris, A 1987, A study of the species composition and distribution of commercial penaeid prawns in Torres Strait, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38: 47–61.
  14. 14 Yearsley, G, Last, P, and Ward, R 1999, Australian seafood handbook: domestic species, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.
  15. 15 Courtney, A, Dredge, M, and Masel, J 1989, Reproductive Biology and Spawning Periodicity of Endeavour Shrimps Metapenaeus endeavouri (Schmitt, 1926) and Metapenaeus ensis (de Haan, 1850) from a Central Queensland (Australia) Fishery, Asian Fisheries Science, 3: 133–147.
  16. 16 Raudzens, E 2007, At sea testing of the Popeye Fishbox bycatch reduction device onboard the FV Adelaide Pearl for approval in Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  17. 17 Griffith, S, Kenyon, R, Bulman, C, Dowdney, J, Williams, A, Sporcic, M, and Fuller, M 2007, Ecological risk assessment for the effects of fishing: report for the Northern Prawn Fishery, report for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  18. 18 Kangas, M and Thomson, A 2004, Implementation and assessment of bycatch reduction devices in the Shark Bay and Exmouth Gulf trawl fisheries, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2000/189, Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia, North Beach.
  19. 19 Huber, D, 2003, Audit of the Management of the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Report, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, May 2003, www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/4080/Huber-2003.pdf.
  20. 20 Kangas, M, McCrea, J, Fletcher, W, Sporer, E and Weir, V 2006, Shark Bay Prawn Fishery, ESD Report Series 3, Western Australian Department of Fisheries.
  21. 21 Kangas, M, McCrea, J, Fletcher, W, Sporer, E and Weir, V 2006, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Fishery, ESD Report Series 1, Western Australian Department of Fisheries.
  22. 22 Kangas, M, Morrison, S, Unsworth, P, Lai, E, Wright, I and Thomson, A 2007, Development of biodiversity and habitat monitoring systems for key trawl fisheries in Western Australia, final report, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2002/038, Fisheries Research Report 160, Fisheries Western Australia, North Beach.
  23. 23 Kangas, M, and Morrison, S 2013, Trawl impacts and biodiversity management in Shark Bay, Western Australia, Marine and Freshwater Research, 64: 1135–1155.
  24. 24 Dichmont, CM, Jarrett, A, Hill, F and Brown, M 2014, Harvest strategy for the Northern Prawn Fishery under input control, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  25. 25 Flood, M and Day, G 2013, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery, in Commonwealth Trawl and Scalefish Hook Sectors, in Woodhams, J, Vieira, S and Stobutzki, I (eds.), Fishery status reports 2012: status of fish stocks and fisheries managed by the Australian Government, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
  26. 26 Pears, RJ, Morison, AK, Jebreen, EJ, Dunning, M, Pitcher, CR, Courtney, AJ, Houlden, B, and Jacobsen, IP 2012, Ecological Risk Assessment of the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park: Technical Report, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville.
  27. 27 Somers, IF 1987, Sediment type as a factor in the distribution of commercial prawn species in the Western Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia.
  28. 28 Kenyon, R, Jarrett, A, Bishop, J, Taranto, T, Dichmont, C, and Zhou, S 2005, Documenting the history of and providing protocols and criteria for changing existing and establishing new closures in the NPF, final report to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority R02/0881 Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.

Archived reports

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