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BANANA PRAWNS (2023)

Penaeus indicus & Penaeus merguiensis

  • Ian Butler (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Brad Zeller (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Inigo Koefoed (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

Date Published: June 2023

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Summary

Banana prawns are found across northern Australia, from WA to QLD. They are sustainable across all jurisdictions. Harvests are highly dependent on seasonal conditions, which influence prawn populations from year to year.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery Sustainable

Catch

Western Australia Nickol Bay and Onslow Prawn Managed Fisheries Sustainable

Catch, CPUE, catch projections, biomass dynamics model

Western Australia Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery Sustainable

Catch, CPUE, catch projections, biomass dynamics model

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Stock Structure

 In Australia the standard fish name Banana Prawn is a group name which refers to the White Banana Prawn, Penaeus merguiensis and the Redleg Banana Prawn, Penaeus indicus. Both species have also been placed in the genus Fenneropenaeus with taxonomy still unsettled [Ferfante and Kensley 1997; Ma et al. 2011; Vance and Rothlisberg 2020 and name usage is mixed among fisheries. White and Redleg banana prawns are often not distinguished in the catch in Australian fisheries. An exception to this is the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf area of the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), where populations of Redleg banana prawns are specifically targeted. The biological stock structure of Banana Prawn is uncertain. There is some evidence that there may be separate biological stocks of White Banana Prawn within the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth); however, the boundaries of the biological stocks are unknown [Yearsley et al. 1999]. Banana Prawn fisheries in Western Australia and Queensland are widely separated, but it is not known whether these are completely independent stocks [Tanimoto et al. 2006].

Here, assessment of stock status for Banana Prawns is presented at the management unit level—Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth); Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, Nickol Bay and Onslow Prawn Managed Fisheries, Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia); and East Coast (Queensland).

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Stock Status

Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery

Banana Prawn landings are generally low (or zero) in this fishery, with historical landings (1963–2022) ranging from 0–74 t. Catches of Banana Prawns are related to the amount of rainfall in the region, with consecutive high rainfall years providing optimal conditions for Banana Prawn recruitment. Fishers tend to actively target this species in this fishery in years when its abundance is relatively high and aggregations are evident. In recent times, Banana Prawn catches in the upper end of the historical landings range occurred in 2012 and 2013, both years where summer rainfall was relatively high. Less than 1 t of Banana Prawns were landed in 2022 [Newman et al. 2023]. Given the environmentally driven nature of Banana Prawn recruitment [Venables et al. 2011], and historical low landings for some years, the above evidence indicates that the biomass of Banana Prawn in Exmouth Gulf is unlikely to be depleted. Furthermore, the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the management unit to become recruitment impaired.

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

 

Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery

Historical commercial catch levels from 1989–98 (a period when the fishery was considered sustainable) have been used as the basis for calculating target catch ranges. The target range in the Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia) is 200–450 t [Newman et al. 2023], however, the recent costs of fishing in this remote fishery has resulted in a reduction in effort since 2009, so this target range is under review. The management unit operates under an upper limit effort cap of 1,500 vessel days (based on historical effort levels). Since 2009 less than 650 fishing days have been expended annually by the fleet. The total commercial catch for 2022 was 236 t, which was within the target catch range. Fishing effort for this year totalled 290 vessel days. Fishers are currently aiming to optimise returns by maximising their efficiency, with the majority fishing only when catch rates are high. Permanent closures have been introduced in all the major rainfall catchments, as well as temporal closures in two of the catchment areas (known as ‘size management fish grounds’) to protect smaller prawns and their habitats.

On the basis of annual trends in landings and effort since 1980, and more recently, catch rates, the Banana Prawn stock is currently considered to be fished at a sustainable level. There has been no marked declining trend in landings across the entire time series and landings have generally been maintained despite relatively low levels of effort compared with historical levels. Fishing effort (vessel days) in the past five years has been well below the levels that provided the highest catches in the history of the fishery. Results based on a recent study involving the use of a preliminary state-space model applied to catch, standardised catch per unit effort (CPUE) data, and a summer rainfall index data for Banana Prawn in the Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery indicates that fishing mortality in recent years (e.g., 2010–2021) have remained below FMSY, stock biomass has remained at or above BMSY, and catches over this period have typically been below MSY (DPIRD, unpublished data).

The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the management unit is unlikely to be depleted. Furthermore, the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the management unit to become recruitment impaired.

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

 

Nickol Bay and Onslow Prawn Managed Fisheries

Historical commercial catch levels from 1989–98 (a period when the fishery was considered sustainable) have been used as the basis for calculating target catch ranges. The Banana Prawn target catch range for the Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery is 40–220 t, and for Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery it is 2–90 t [DPIRD 2022a, DPIRD 2022b]. The annual commercial catch projection for Nickol Bay is estimated based on wet-season rainfall (December–March). The commercial catch projection for the 2022 fishing season was 20–40 t. Total commercial catch for 2022 was 42 t, above the projected catch range but within the target catch range. Three boats fished the Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery in 2022, with a total effort of 62 boat days. Only one boat fished the Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery and as such, the fishing effort is confidential. Banana Prawn catch from the Onslow fishery was very low. Since 2012, very low effort has been expended in the Onslow fishery due to the construction of a gas facility and the associated wharf, dredging, and exclusion zones, which disrupted fishing activities during the most productive part of the season. Effort levels in the five years prior to 2012 were between 60 and 260 boat days annually.

On the basis of annual trends in landings and effort, and more recently, analysis of annual catch rates and results from preliminary state space biomass dynamics models [DPIRD 2022a], the Banana Prawn stock in Nickol Bay is currently considered to be fished at a sustainable level. There has been no marked declining trend in overall landings across the entire time series despite very marked reductions in effort in most recent years. Standardised commercial catch rates, calculated using daily logbook data since 2008 do not exhibit a declining trend. Estimates from the biomass dynamics model indicate that since the mid-2000s, fishing mortality has generally remained at or below FMSY, and that spawning biomass has remained at or above BMSY since 2010 (through to 2021) DPIRD (unpublished data).

The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the management unit is unlikely to be depleted. Furthermore, the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the management unit to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Nickol Bay and Onslow Prawn Managed Fisheries (Western Australia) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

 

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Biology

Banana Prawn biology [Huber 2003; Tanimoto et al. 2006; Yearsley et al. 1999]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
BANANA PRAWNS

White Banana Prawn (P. merguiensis): 1–2 years; greater than 240 mm TL; approximately 38 mm CL

White Banana Prawn (P. merguiensis): approximately 6 months; 120–150 mm TL;  greater than 25 mm CL

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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of BANANA PRAWNS.

Confidentiality prevents the display of spatial data for some fisheries.

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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Recreational
Cast Net
Unspecified
Indigenous
Unspecified
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Recreational
Bag limits
Licence
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 254.15t
Indigenous Unknown
Recreational Unknown

Commonwealth – Commercial catch. Catch is for calendar year 2021. Commercial catch in the NPF is only for White Banana Prawns (P. merguiensis).

Commonwealth – Recreational. The Australian Government does not manage recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters. Recreational fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters, under its management regulations.

Commonwealth – Indigenous. The Australian Government does not manage non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters, with the exception of the Torres Strait. In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters.

Queensland. – Indigenous (management methods) For more information see https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/traditional-fishing.

Queensland.ueensland vailable through the Queensland Fisheries Summary Report https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/monitoring-research/data/queensland-fisheries-summary-report. 

Queensland – Commercial (Management Methods) Harvest strategies available at: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/business-priorities/fisheries/sustainable/harvest-strategy

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Catch Chart

 

Commercial catch of BANANA PRAWNS - note confidential catch not shown.

Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery catch is for White Banana Prawns (P. merguiensis) only.

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References

  1. Buckworth, RC, Ellis, N, Zhou, S, Pascoe, S, Deng, RA, Hill, FG & O’Brien, M 2013, Comparison of TAC and current management for the white banana prawn fishery of the Northern Prawn Fishery, final report for project RR2012/0812 to AFMA, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Brisbane.
  2. Butler, I, D'Alberto, B, and Dylewski, M, 2022, Northern Prawn Fishery, in Patterson, H, Bromhead, D, Galeano, D, Larcombe, J, Timmiss, T, Woodhams, J and Curtotti, R 2022, Fishery status reports 2022, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra. CC BY 4.0.
  3. 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.
  4. Huber, D 2003, Audit of the management of the Queensland East Coast Trawl Fishery in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville,
  5. Jacobsen, I, Zeller, B, Dunning, M, Garland, A, Courtney, T, Jebreen, E 2018, An ecological risk assessment of the East Coast Trawl Fishery in Southern Queensland including the River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  6. Ma, KY, Chan, T-Y and Chu, KH 2011, Refuting the six-genus classification of Penaeus s.l. (Dendrobranchiata, Penaeidae): a combined analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Zoologica Scripta, 40: 498–508.
  7. Newman, S, J, Wise, B, S, Santoro, K, G, and Gaughan, D, J (eds) 2023, Status Reports of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Western Australia 2021/22: The State of the Fisheries, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia.
  8. O’Neill, MF and Leigh, GM 2007, Fishing power increases continue in Queensland’s East Coast Trawl Fishery, Australia, Fisheries Research, 85: 84–92.
  9. 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.
  10. Perez Farfante, I and Kensley, BF 1997, Penaeids and Sergestoid Shrimps and Prawns of the World: Keys and Diagnoses for the Families and Genera. Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, 233 p.
  11. Resource Assessment Report for the Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery. (in review).
  12. Resource Assessment Report for the Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery. (in review).
  13. Tanimoto, M, Courtney, AJ, O’Neil, MF and Leigh, GM 2006, Stock assessment of the Queensland (Australia) east coast banana prawn (Penaeus merguiensis), Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  14. Turschwell, MP, Stewart-Koster, B, Kenyon, R, Deng, RA, Stratford, D, Hughes, JD and Pollino, CA 2022, Spatially structured relationships between white banana prawn (Penaeus merguiensis) catch and riverine flow in the Northern Prawn Fishery, Australia. Journal of Environmental Management, 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115761
  15. van der Velde, TD, Venables, WN, Crocos, PJ, Edgar, S, Evans, F & Rothlisberg, PC 2021, ‘Seasonal, interannual and spatial variability in the reproductive dynamics of Penaeus merguiensis’, Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 658, pp. 117–33.
  16. Vance, DJ and Rothlisberg, PC 2020, Chapter One—The biology and ecology of the banana prawns: Penaeus merguiensis de Man and P. indicus H. Milne Edwards. Advances in Marine Biology, 1: 1–139.
  17. Venables, WN, Hutton, T, Lawrence, E, Rothlisberg, P, Buckworth, R, Hartcher, M and Kenyon, R 2011, Prediction of common banana prawn potential catch in Australia’s Northern Prawn Fishery, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  18. Yearsley, GK, Last, PR and Ward, RD 1999, Australian seafood handbook: domestic species, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Downloadable reports

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