ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS (2020)
Metapenaeus endeavouri, Metapenaeus ensis
Date Published: June 2021
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The status for Australia’s stocks of Endeavour Prawns varies by species across jurisdictions depending on the availability of catch and abundance information. Where there is adequate information for assessment, such as in the main commercial fisheries, they are considered to be sustainable. Otherwise, where less information is available, they are classified as undefined.
Stock Status Overview
|Western Australia||Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)||Sustainable||
Catch, survey catch rate
|Western Australia||North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)||Sustainable||
|Western Australia||Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)||Sustainable||Catch|
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).
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. Blue Endeavour Prawns are a secondary target species whose distribution partly overlaps with that of Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns and are caught when fishers are targeting these two species [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. In 2017, the Harvest Strategy for the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery was modified to include Blue Endeavour Prawns [DPIRD 2018] with specific limit (4.5 kg/hr) and target (9 kg/hr) reference levels based on fishery-independent surveys for the spawning stock and overall stock assessment of this species is based on a weight-of-evidence (WOE) approach as for Western King and Brown Tiger prawns in this fishery.
Fishery-independent spawning stock and recruitment surveys of Brown Tiger and Western King Prawn grounds also record the abundance of Blue Endeavour Prawns that provide an annual spawning stock and recruitment abundance index expressed in terms of survey catch rate. In 2019, the mean survey catch rate for the Blue Endeavour Prawn spawning stock was 28.5 kg per hour, well above the target. A secondary performance indicator is the annual recruitment survey catch rate which indicates recruitment strength. A preliminary catch prediction has been developed for this species based on the mean annual recruitment index and landings since 2012 when Blue Endeavour Prawns have been retained more consistently due to improved markets. The recruitment catch rate index in 2019 of 18.0 kg per hour was above the 10 year mean (2009–18) of 14.3 kg per hour but within the catch rate index range of 4.4–31.7 kg per hour. The preliminary catch prediction was 215–325 t and landings (208 t) were just below this range. There has been no declining trend in the fishery-independent survey catch rates over the periods sampled in either of these fishing grounds for either the spawning stock or recruitment. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired.
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 exploited [Gaughan and Santoro 2018] 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 2019 was within the target catch range and above the average catch over the past 15 years (191 t) [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. In the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery management unit, a significant portion of the breeding biomass is protected by the Brown Tiger Prawn spawning closures [Kangas et al. 2015] 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 impaired.
On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia) 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 retained species when targeting Banana Prawn or Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns. Permanent and temporal spatial closure implemented for the key target species in these fisheries provide added protection to Blue Endeavour Prawns. In the past 10 years (2009–18) the landings of Blue Endeavour Prawn in these minor fisheries combined has been between 2 and 15 t. The total combined catch for all the fisheries in 2019 was 5 t. The low level of catch of this species and the maintenance of these catches over time suggest that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired and also unlikely to become recruitment impaired. Based on the evidence provided above, the North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery ((Western Australia) Blue Endeavour 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 a minor retained species when targeting Brown Tiger or Western King Prawns. The landings in the past 10 years (2009–18) have been between one and 23 t. Landings in 2019 were 1 t; that is, within this range. The low level of catch of this species and the maintenance of these catches over time provide evidence that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.
Based on the evidence provided above, the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.
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]
|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|
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.
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.
Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) for more information see https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/traditional-fishing
Commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns - note confidential catch not shown
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