Redspot King Prawn (2020)

Melicertus longistylus

  • Anthony Roelofs (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
  • Ian Butler (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Thor Saunders (Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, Northern Territory)

Date Published: June 2021

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Redspot King Prawn occurs throughout the tropical Indo-West Pacific, including northern Australia. The species' biological stock structure is uncertain, and this assessment is consequently presented at the management unit level—East Coast QLD, Northern Australia and WA. The East Coast QLD stock is classified as sustainable, WA is negligible, with no history of targeted fishing, and Northern Australia is undefined. 

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Commonwealth Northern Australia Undefined


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Stock Structure

The Redspot King Prawn has an Indo-West Pacific and tropical Australian distribution from Exmouth Gulf in the west across northern Australia to the Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait and down the east coast to approximately 22⁰S.

Biological Stock Structure of Redspot King Prawn is uncertain. The Northern Australia stock is fished by the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) and the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery. The East Coast Queensland stock is taken along the coast of Queensland by the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery. The Western Australia stock is taken in very low quantities in the Exmouth and North Coast prawn fisheries.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—East Coast Queensland (Queensland), Northern Australia (Commonwealth); and the jurisdictional level—Western Australia.



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Stock Status

Northern Australia

Redspot King Prawns are a minor portion of catches in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) and the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (TSPF).  No catch has been recorded in the NPF since 2015. Annual catches from 2010 to 2015 averaged 0.6 t. Catch in the TSPF has been variable over the last decade (2010–19), ranging from 0.2 t to 5.4 t (average 1.5 t per year). There is some uncertainty associated with the species of king prawn being caught in the TSPF. There is catch reported as Western King Prawn and also under a grouped ‘king prawn’ code, some of which may actually be Redspot King Prawn. Reported catch of Redspot King Prawn in the TSPF was 5.4 t in 2019, up from 0.2 t in 2018.  

There are no jurisdictional fisheries that target this species in the Northern Territory and is not caught by any fishing sector. 

No formal stock assessments have been carried out in either fishery.  On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern assessment unit of the Redspot King Prawn is classified as undefined.

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Redspot King Prawn biology [Holthuis 1980, Dredge 1990, Kailola et al. 1993]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Redspot King Prawn

2 years, 5.13 cm CL (female), 4.23 cm CL (male)

Female at 8 months, 3.3 cm CL; male time and length of maturity uncertain

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Distribution of reported Commercial Catch of Redspot King Prawn.

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Fishing methods
Otter Trawl
Management methods
Method Commonwealth
Area closures
Effort limits
Fishery spatial closures
Gear restrictions
Limited entry (licensing)
Seasonal closures
Commercial 5.47t

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

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Redspot King Prawn - note confidential catch not shown

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  1. Dredge, MCL, 1990, Movement, Growth and Natural Mortality Rate of the Red Spot King Prawn, Penaeus longistylus Kubo , from the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater Res., 41, 399-410
  2. Holthuis, L.B. 1980 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 1. Shrimps and prawns of the world. An annotated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(1):271 p. Rome: FAO.
  3. Kailola, PJ, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichhelt, RE, McNee, A & Grieve, C, 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources. Bureau of Resource Sciences and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
  4. 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
  5. QFish, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, www.qfish.gov.au
  6. Wang, N, Wang, Y-G, Courtney, AJ & 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.

Downloadable reports

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