BANANA PRAWNS (2020)
Penaeus indicus & Penaeus merguiensis
Date Published: June 2021
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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.
Stock Status Overview
Catch, stock assessments
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] 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 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).
Commercial catches of Banana Prawn in the East Coast management unit have shown considerable inter annual variation. Since 2000, nominal catch rates for beam and otter trawl sectors have been gradually increasing, although catch rates were slightly lower in 2018-19 compared to 2016-17 [QFISH 2020]. Environmental factors likely have contributed to these fluctuations since rainfall and river flow rates are intimately linked to Banana Prawn recruitment rates and biomass availability [Tanimoto et al. 2006]. A quantitative assessment of the East Coast (Queensland) management unit, based on catch and effort data from 1988–2004, estimated an average annual MSY estimate of 802 t [Tanimoto et al. 2006]. Total commercial catch of Banana Prawns since 2013 has stabilised at a level below the MSY estimate; at 442–785 t [QFISH 2020]. Total harvest in 2019 was at the lower end of this range at 449 t. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the management unit is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.
Recent ecological risk assessments found that there was a low risk of the management unit becoming recruitment overfished at 2009 effort levels [Pears et al. 2012, Jacobsen et al. 2018]. Compared with 2009, there has been a 36 per cent decrease in effort in 2019 (days when Banana Prawn was caught), indicating that, despite an increase in fishing power in the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery fleet (0.4–3.1 per cent per year) [O’Neill and Leigh 2007], fishing pressure on the management unit is not increasing. The above evidence indicates that 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 East Coast (Queensland) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.
Banana Prawn biology [Huber 2003, Tanimoto et al. 2006, Yearsley et al. 1999]
|Species||Longevity / Maximum Size||Maturity (50 per cent)|
White Banana Prawn (P. merguiensis): 1–2 years; > 240 mm TL; ~38 mm CL
White Banana Prawn (P. merguiensis): ~6 months; 120–150 mm TL; >25 mm CL
Distribution of reported commercial catch of BANANA PRAWNS
Confidentiality prevents the display of spatial data for some fisheries.
Commonwealth – Commercial catch 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
Commercial catch of BANANA PRAWNS - note confidential catch not shown
Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery catch is for White Banana Prawns (P. merguiensis) only
- 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.
- Gaughan, DJ and Santoro, K (eds) 2020, State of the fisheries and aquatic resources report 2016/17, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia.
- 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,
- 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.
- 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.
- O’Neill, MF and Leigh, GM 2007, Fishing power increases continue in Queensland’s East Coast Trawl Fishery, Australia, Fisheries Research, 85: 84–92.
- 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.
- 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.
- QFish, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, www.qfish.gov.au
- 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.
- 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.
- Yearsley, GK, Last, PR and Ward, RD 1999, Australian seafood handbook: domestic species, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.
- Zhou, S, Dichmont, CM, Burridge, CY, Venables, WV, Toscas, PJ and Vance, D 2007, Is catchability density-dependent for schooling prawns, Fisheries Research, 85: 23–36.