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Western King Prawn (2018)

Melicertus latisulcatus

  • Craig Noell (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Crystal Beckmann (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Lachlan McLeay (South Australian Research and Development Institute)
  • Luke Albury (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

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Summary

Western King Prawn is harvested in WA, SA and QLD. Stocks in all states are sustainable.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery ECOTF Sustainable Catch, effort, ecological risk assessment
ECOTF
East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (QLD)
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Stock Structure

Western King Prawn is distributed throughout the Indo–West Pacific [Grey et al. 1983]. No research has been conducted into Western King Prawn biological stock structure in Western Australia or Queensland, and status in those states is therefore reported at the management unit level. In South Australia, one study of the genetic structure of Western King Prawn found no differences between the three fisheries [Carrick 2003], however, each fishery functions as an independent population at time scales relevant to management, with distinct adult and juvenile habitats and independent variations in recruitment and abundance. Each fishery in South Australia is therefore assessed and managed as a separate management unit.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries, South West Trawl Managed Fishery (Western Australia); East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Queensland); Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery, Gulf St. Vincent Prawn Fishery and West Coast Prawn Fishery (South Australia).

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Stock Status

East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery

Long-term (1998–2017) nominal catch rates for Western King Prawns range from 31.0–58.3 kg per day. At 49.3 kg per day, nominal catch rates for 2017 were at the higher end of this range [QDAF 2018]. In 2013, an ecological risk assessment (ERA) for the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Queensland) found that Western King Prawns were at low risk of becoming recruitment overfished within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) [Pears et al. 2012]. This is in part driven by the biology of the species, which exhibits protracted spawning behaviour, and partly by low levels of susceptibility to trawling, given the extent of area closed to the fishery. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this management unit is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

Total catch of Western King Prawns in 2017 has increased since 2013 when catches were below historical averages [QDAF 2018]. The GBRMP accounts for around 90 per cent of the total Western King Prawn catch in Queensland waters and has experienced a 23 per cent decline in otter trawl effort since 2009 (the trawl ERA representative fishing year). Given this decline in effort, it is unlikely that the risk of this species being recruitment overfished has increased from the original ‘low risk’ evaluation. This is supported by research which has shown that around 40 per cent of the Western King Prawn biomass is afforded protection from trawl fishing through permanent closures within the GBRMP [Pitcher et al. 2007]. These closures remain in place and provisions governing the use of these areas have not been the subject of significant amendments since the last Status of Australian Fish Stocks assessment. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Queensland) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Western King Prawn biology [Kangas et al. 2015 a,b, Penn 1980, Noell and Hooper 2017]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Western King Prawn 2–3 years, maximum 4 years South Australia: males 46 mm CL, females 57 mm CL Western Australia: males 45 mm CL, females 60 mm CL 6–7 months, 25 mm CL 
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Western King Prawn
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Tables

Fishing methods
Queensland
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Management methods
Method Queensland
Commercial
Effort limits
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Vessel restrictions
Active vessels
Queensland
110 in ECOTF
ECOTF
East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (QLD)
Catch
Queensland
Commercial 175.79t in ECOTF
Indigenous 0t
Recreational 0t
ECOTF
East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (QLD)

Queensland - Indigenous In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers in Queensland are able 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. Further exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Western King Prawn - note confidential catch not shown
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References

  1. Beckmann and Hooper, unpublished, Status of the West Coast Prawn Penaeus (Melicertus) latisulcatus Fishery in 2017. Fishery Status Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide.
  2. Caputi , N, de Lestang, S, Hart, A, Kangas, M, Johnston, D and Penn, J 2014a, Catch predictions in stock assessment and management of invertebrate fisheries using pre-recruit abundance—case studies from Western Australia, Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture, 22 (1) 36–54.
  3. Caputi, N, Feng, M, Pearce, A, Benthuysen, J, Denham, A, Hetzel, Y, Matear, R, Jackson, G, Molony, B, Joll, L and Chandrapavan, A 2014b, Management implications of climate change effect on fisheries in Western Australia: Part 1, final report, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, project 2010/535, Fisheries Research Report, Western Australian Department of Fisheries.
  4. Caputi, N, Penn, JW, Joll, LM and Chubb, CF 1998, Stock-recruitment-environment relationships for invertebrate species of Western Australia. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Special Publication, 125: 247–255.
  5. Carrick, N 2008, Determining the impact of environmental variability on the sustainability, fishery dynamics and economic performance of the West Coast Prawn Fishery, final report, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2005/082, FRDC and Fisheries and Environmental Consulting Services, Canberra.
  6. Carrick, NA 2003, Spencer Gulf Prawn (Melicertus latisulcatus) Fishery, Fishery Assessment Report to Primary Industries and Regions South Australia Fisheries, South Australian Research and Development Institute publication RD03/0079-2, SARDI Research Report Series 161, SARDI, Adelaide.
  7. Carrick, NA and Ostendorf, B 2005, Modelling prawn movement and spatial dynamics in the Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fisheries. Canberra, Australia.
  8. DoF 2014, Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery Harvest Strategy 2014–2019. Fisheries Management Paper No. 267. Department of Fisheries, WA.
  9. DoF 2018, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery Harvest Strategy 2014–2019. Fisheries Management Paper No. 265. Department of Fisheries.
  10. 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.
  11. Grey, DL, Dall, W and Baker, A 1983, A Guide to the Australian Penaeid Prawns, Northern Territory Department of Primary Production, Darwin.
  12. Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Brand-Gardner, SJ, Cavalli, P and Harry, AV 2015b, Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series, 2: 294 pp.
  13. Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Moore, N, Cavalli, P and Fisher, EA 2015a, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series, 1: 273 pp.
  14. McLeay, L, Beckmann, C and Hooper, G 2017, Gulf St Vincent Prawn Penaeus (Melicertus) latisulcatus Fishery 2016/17. Fishery Assessment report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture. South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2007/000782-7. SARDI Research Report Series No. 972.
  15. Noell, CJ and Hooper, 2017, Spencer Gulf Prawn Penaeus (Melicertus) latisulcatus Fishery, Fishery Assessment Report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture, South Australian Research and Development Institute (Aquatic Sciences), Adelaide. SARDI Publication No. F2007/000770-9. SARDI Research Report Series No. 950. 76pp.
  16. Pears, RJ, Morison, AK, Jebreen, EJ, Dunning, MC, 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.
  17. Penn, JW 1980, Spawning and fecundity of the western king prawn, Penaeus latisulcatus, Kishinouye, in Western Australian waters, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 31: 21–35.
  18. Penn, JW 1984, The behaviour and catchability of some commercially exploited penaeids and their relationship to stock and recruitment, in: Gulland, JA and Rothschild, BJ (eds.), Penaeid shrimps – their biology and management, Fishing News Books Ltd, Farnham, pp. 173–186.
  19. Penn, JW and Caputi, N 1986, Spawning stock-recruitment relationships and environmental influences on the brown tiger prawn (Penaeus esculentus) fishery in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 37: 491–505.
  20. PIRSA 2010, Management policy for the commercial West Coast Prawn Fishery. p. 18: Primary Industries and Resources SA.
  21. PIRSA 2014, Management Plan for the South Australian Commercial Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery, South Australian Fisheries Management Series, no. 74, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Adelaide.
  22. PIRSA 2017, Management Plan for the South Australian Commercial Gulf St Vincent Prawn Fishery, South Australian Fisheries Management Series, no. 67, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Adelaide.
  23. Pitcher, CR, Doherty, P, Arnold, P, Hooper, J, Gribble, N, Bartlett, C, Browne, M, Campbell, N, Cannard, T, Cappo, M, Carini, G, Chalmers, S, Cheers, S, Chetwynd, D, Colefax, A, Coles, R, Cook, S, Davie, P, De’ath, G, Devereux, D, Done, B, Donovan, T, Ehrke, B, Ellis, N, Ericson, G, Fellegara, I, Forcey, K, Furey, M, Gledhill, D, Good, N, Gordon, S, Haywood, M, Jacobsen, I, Johnson, J, Jones, M, Kinninmoth, S, Kistle, S, Last, P, Leite, A, Marks, S, McLeod, I, Oczkowicz, S, Rose, C, Seabright, D, Sheils, J, Sherlock, M, Skelton, P, Smith, D, Smith, G, Speare, P, Stowar, M, Strickland, C, Sutcliffe, P, Van der Geest, C, Venables, W, Walsh, C, Wassenberg, T, Welna, A and Yearsley, G 2007, Seabed biodiversity on the continental shelf of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Australian Institute of Marine Science, CSIRO, Queensland Museum, Queensland Department of Primary Industries and CRC Reef Research Centre, task final report, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.
  24. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018, Species Summaries. 19–20 June 2018, Brisbane.
  25. Wise, BS, ST John, J and Lenanton, R 2007, Spatial scales of exploitation among populations of demersal scalefish: Implications for management. Part 1: Stock status of the key indicator species for the demersal scalefish fishery in the West Coast Bioregion. Report to the FRDC on Project No. 2003/052. Fisheries Research Report No. 163. Department of Fisheries, WA, 130 pp.

Archived reports

Click the links below to view reports from other years for this fish.