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
New South Wales South Eastern Australia Sustainable Catch, CPUE
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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

South Eastern Australia

Royal Red Prawn in Commonwealth fisheries is managed as a Tier 4 stock under the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF) Harvest Strategy Framework [AFMA, 2019]. Haddon & Sporcic [2017] informed the management of the stock for the 2019–20 fishing season. 

 The Tier 4 analysis by Haddon and Sporcic [2017], indicated that the standardised CPUE for the recent four years to 2016 was varying around the target reference point. The RBC estimated by Haddon and Sporcic [2017] was 431 t. Some concerns about using a standardised CPUE for this stock have been expressed because targeting of Royal Red Prawn is market driven [Morison et al. 2013] and such practices may influence CPUE. However, the above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

Landed catch in the Commonwealth Trawl sector of the SESSF was 164 t in the 2019–20 fishing season (147 t in 2018-19 fishing season). Discards have been estimated to be 17.5 t based on the weighted average of the previous four calendar years (2015 to 2018) [Burch et al., 2019]. New South Wales catch data are considered to be confidential due to the small number of operators, but the sum of the landed catch (SESSF and New South Wales catch) and discards was well below the RBC of 431 t calculated in the 2017 analysis. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing mortality is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the South Eastern Australia biological stock is classified as a sustainable 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
New South Wales
Management methods
Method New South Wales
Area restrictions
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Marine park closures
Mesh size regulations
Vessel restrictions
New South Wales
Commercial 3.34t

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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