Royal Red Prawn (2020)

Haliporoides sibogae

  • Timothy Emery (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES))
  • Anthony Roelofs (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)

Date Published: June 2021

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Royal Red Prawn is widely distributed. It occurs in depths of 350–500 m in the Indian and western Pacific oceans. The South Eastern Australian stock is sustainable, but the QLD stock is undefined. 

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Stock status Indicators
Queensland Queensland Undefined Catch, effort
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Stock Structure

Royal Red Prawn is widely distributed, occurring in depths of 350 m to 550 m in the Indian and western Pacific oceans. In Australia, the main geographic distribution is from Sydney on the east coast around southern Australia to Perth on the west coast, with some occurrence as far north as Moreton Bay, Queensland [Kailola et al. 1993]. Catches have been recorded off New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia between latitudes 10°S and 36°S [ABARES 2018]. On the east coast, Royal Red Prawn is mainly distributed between 26°S and 36°S with few records at 40°S. Commercial catches are mainly taken between Sydney and Ulladulla [Rowling 1995]. Little is known of the stock structure in eastern Australia and the northern limit of the stock is unknown, but is considered to lie north of the current boundary of the fishery at Barrenjoey Point, 35° 35’S [Rowling 1995].

Off New South Wales, catches have been recorded between 275 m and 820 m, with most catches taken between 365 m and 550 m [Rowling 1995]. According to logbook catches from the Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) almost all the commercial catch was taken from 350 m to 550 m depth with 90 per cent of the catch from the 400 m to 499 m [Baelde 1995, Tilzey 1994]. There is evidence of a size related latitudinal distribution with larger prawns (spawners) towards the northern end of the range and juveniles (< 20 mm length) towards the south [Baelde 1992, Rowling 1995, Tilzey 1994]. Royal Red Prawn have two spawning seasons each year, resulting in two annual recruitment pulses, in February-April and again in July-August [Tilzey 1994, Rowling 1995]. They are relatively slow growing and longer lived than shallow water penaeid prawns [Tilzey 1994].

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the biological stock level—South Eastern Australia; and jurisdictional level—Queensland.

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Stock Status


Royal Red Prawn occur in Queensland waters [Potter and Dredge 1895], although little is known about their distribution or potential biomass. The species has remained mostly unfished since 1991 with a peak catch of 30 t and 122 days effort in 1989, and little catch thereafter [Helidoniotis et al. 2018]. The commercial harvest of Royal Red Prawn only began again in 2016 but catch and effort remain very low at less than 100 kg catch and three days effort in 2018-19 [QFISH 2020]. While the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired, there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, Royal Red Prawn in Queensland is classified as an undefined stock.

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Royal Red Prawn biology [Baelde 1994, Graham and Gorman 1985, Holthuis 1980, Kailola et al. 1993, Potter and Dredge 1985, Rowling 1995, Tilzey 1994]

Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
Royal Red Prawn 3 – 4 years, Females: 200 mm TL, 49 mm CL Males: 165 mm TL, 33.5 mm CL Females 25 – 30.8 mm CL Males: 21 – 25.8 mm CL
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Distribution of reported commercial catch of Royal Red Prawn

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Fishing methods
Otter Trawl
Management methods
Method Queensland
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Total allowable catch
Vessel restrictions
Commercial 35.00kg

Commonwealth – Commercial (Management Methods/Catch) Data provided for the Commonwealth align with the Commonwealth Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery for the 2018-19 financial year.

Commonwealth – Recreational The Commonwealth 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 Torres Strait. In general, non-commercial Indigenous fishing in Commonwealth waters is managed by the state or territory immediately adjacent to those waters.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Royal Red Prawn - note confidential catch not shown

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  1. ABARES 2018, Fishery Status Reports 2018. Canberra.
  2. AFMA 2019, Harvest strategy framework for the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery 2009 (amended 2019), Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  3. Baelde, P 1994, Growth, mortality and yield-per-recruit of deep-water royal red prawns (Haliporoides sibogae) off eastern Australia, using the length based MULTIFAN method. Marine Biology 118: 617 - 625
  4. Baelde, P, 1992, Reproductive biology of commercially exploited deep-water royal red prawns (Haliporoides sibogea, Solenoceridae), Australia. Marine Biology 113: 447–,456
  5. Baelde, P, 1995, Royal Red Prawn Haliporoides sibogae . In The South East Fishery: a scientific review with particular reference to quota management. Ed. By RDJ Tilzey. Bureau of Resource Science Bulletin.
  6. Burch, P., Althaus, F. & Thomson, R. 2019. Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) catches and discards for TAC purposes using data until 2018. CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere. Hobart, Tasmania.
  7. Graham, KJ and Gorman, TB 1985, New South Wales deepwater prawn fishery research and development. Second Aust. Nat. Prawn Sem. (Eds PC Rothlisberg, BJ Hill and DJ Staples.) pp.231–43.
  8. Haddon, M and Sporcic, M, 2017, Tier 4 assessments for selected SESSF species (data to 2016) CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, 31 October 2017, Prepared for the SE RAG data meeting, 8 – 10 November 2017, Hobart.
  9. Helidoniotis, F, Albury, L and Taylor, M 2018, Royal Red Prawn, Haliporoides sibogae, in Carolyn Stewardson, Crispian Ashby, Malcolm Haddon, Klaas Hartmann, Patrick Hone, Peter Horvat, Stephen Mayfield, Anthony Roelofs, Keith Sainsbury, Thor Saunders, John Stewart, Simon Nicol and Brent Wise (eds), Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2018, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  10. Holthuis, LB 1980, FAO species catalogue. Volume 1-Shrimps and prawns of the world. An annotated catalogue of species of interest to fisheries (No. 125).
  11. Kailola PJ, Williams MJ, Stewart PC, Reichelt R.E, McNee A and Grieve C, 1993. Australian Fisheries Resources. Australian Bureau of Resource Sciences. Canberra.
  12. Morison, A, Knuckey, IA, Simpfendorfer, CA and Buckworth, RC 2013, South East Scalefish and Shark Fishery: draft 2012 stock assessment summaries for species assessed by GABRAG, ShelfRAG and Slope/DeepRAG, report for AFMA, Canberra.
  13. Potter, MA and Dredge, MCL 1985, Deepwater prawn resources off southern and central Queensland. In Second Australian National Prawn Seminar (pp. 221-229). Nps2.
  14. QFish, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, www.qfish.gov.au
  15. Rowling K 1995, Royal Red Prawn 1994, Stock Assessment Report, South East Fishery Assessment Group. Australia Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  16. Tilzey RDJ, 1994, The South East Fishery: a scientific review with particular reference to quota management. Bureau of Resource Science Bulletin.

Downloadable reports

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