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ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS (2018)

Metapenaeus endeavouri, Metapenaeus ensis

  • Anthony Roelofs (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • James Larcombe (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

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Summary

Australia’s stocks of Endeavour Prawns are sustainable in the main commercial fisheries in WA, the Northern Prawn Fishery, and Qld. They are undefined in areas with smaller catches, where less information is available.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) NPF Sustainable Spawning biomass, fishing mortality, catch
Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn) NPF Undefined
Commonwealth Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) TSPF Undefined Biomass, effort, catch
NPF
Northern Prawn Fishery (CTH)
TSPF
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (CTH)
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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.

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. Red Endeavour Prawn represents less than 20 per cent of the catch in the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery [Turnbull and Atfield 2007]) and between 20–40 per cent in the Northern Prawn Fishery.

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 Fishery (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

Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

Blue Endeavour Prawn is assessed as part of the integrated bioeconomic model for the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) Tiger Prawn sector [Buckworth et al. 2016]. Commercial catch of Endeavour Prawn is disaggregated into separate species using a model incorporating historical fishery-independent survey data [Venables and Dichmont 2004]. Blue Endeavour Prawn is assessed using a biomass dynamic model, which estimated the spawner stock size at the end of 2015 to be at 77 per cent of the spawner stock size that would be required for maximum sustainable yield (SMSY) [Buckworth et al. 2016]. This is above the limit reference point of 50 per cent (0.5SMSY). As a result, the stock is not considered to be recruitment impaired [Larcombe et al. 2018].

The commercial catch in recent years has not exceeded 400 tonnes (t) and in 2017 was 219 t, which is below the estimate of maximum sustainable yield (base-case estimate of 813 t) [Buckworth et al. 2016]. This level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the management unit to become recruitment impaired [Larcombe et al. 2018].

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn)

There is currently no reliable assessment to confidently classify the status of this stock [Larcombe et al. 2018]. Catches over recent years have been quite low compared with historical highs and have not exceeded 300 t. The catch in 2017 was 161 t. These lower catches are most likely related to a decrease in fishing effort directed at Tiger Prawn, rather than any indication of a decline in Red Endeavour Prawn biomass, as Red Endeavour Prawns are caught as a by-product species by effort directed at Tiger Prawns. There is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

The most recent assessment was conducted in 2009 [Larcombe et al. 2018] and applied a deterministic size- and age-structured model with a fixed stock–recruitment steepness value of 0.5. Biomass in 2007 was estimated to be 80 per cent of the unfished (1967) level, with biomass at MSY estimated at 43 per cent of unfished. MSY was estimated to be 1105 t (90 per cent confidence interval (CI) 1 060–1 184 t) and fishing effort at MSY was estimated to be 10 079 nights (90 per cent CI 9 667–10 800 nights). The Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) has an objective of maintaining biomass above the biomass level associated with MSY.

Since 2002, catch has been below the range of estimated MSY (1 060 t), and effort has been below the range associated with MSY (9 667 nights). The 2007 biomass estimate of 80 per cent unfished biomass above the estimated BMSY of 43 per cent and well above the proxy limit reference point of 20 per cent unfished levels.

The outputs from the 2009 stock assessment for Blue Endeavour prawn have become less relevant over time, with increased uncertainty in current status due to highly variable recruitment, short life span, changes in fleet dynamics and vessel efficiency, and changes in catch and effort. Furthermore, nominal catch rates for Blue Endeavour prawn have declined by over 50 per cent since 2008 [Turnbull and Cocking 2018]. The 2009 stock assessment is no longer regarded as a sound basis for determining stock status, hence there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.

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Biology

Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn biology [Courtney et al. 1989, Kailola et al. 1993, Keating et al. 1990, Kangas et al. 2015, Somers et al. 1987, Yearsley et al. 1999]
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
Commonwealth
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Management methods
Method Commonwealth
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Vessel restrictions
Active vessels
Commonwealth
52 in NPF, 13 in TSPF
NPF
Northern Prawn Fishery (CTH)
TSPF
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (CTH)
Catch
Commonwealth
Commercial 380.00t in NPF, 24.82t in TSPF
Indigenous Unknown
NPF
Northern Prawn Fishery (CTH)
TSPF
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (CTH)

Commonwealth – Indigenous (management methods) 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.

Queensland – Commercial (fishing 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.

Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) 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.

Commonwealth – Recreational (fishing methods) 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.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. DPIRD 2018, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery harvest strategy 2014–2019.
  4. Gaughan D and Santoro K (eds) 2018, State of the fisheries and aquatic resources report 2016/17, Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Perth.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Larcombe, J, Marton, N and Curtotti, R, 2018, Northern Prawn Fishery, in H Patterson, J Larcombe, S Nicol and R Curtotti (eds), Fishery status reports 2018, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
  9. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19-20 June 2018, Brisbane.
  10. 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.
  11. Turnbull, C and Cocking, L 2018, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Data Summary 2017, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, Australia.
  12. 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.
  13. Turnbull, CT and Atfield, JC 2007, Fisheries Long Term Monitoring Program—Summary of tiger and endeavour prawn survey results: 1998–2006, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane, Australia
  14. Venables, W and Dichmont, C 2004, GLMs, GAMs and GLMMs: an overview of theory for applications in fisheries research, Fisheries Research, 70: 319–337.
  15. 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.
  16. Yearsley, G, Last, P and Ward, R 1999, Australian seafood handbook: domestic species, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Archived reports

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