*

ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS (2018)

Metapenaeus endeavouri, Metapenaeus ensis

  • Anthony Roelofs (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • James Larcombe (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)
Toggle content

Summary

Australia’s stocks of Endeavour Prawns are sustainable in the main commercial fisheries in WA, the Northern Prawn Fishery, and Qld. They are undefined in areas with smaller catches, where less information is available.

Toggle content

Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) NPF Sustainable Spawning biomass, fishing mortality, catch
Commonwealth Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn) NPF Undefined
Commonwealth Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) TSPF Undefined Biomass, effort, catch
Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn) ECOTF Sustainable Catch rate, catch, effort
Western Australia Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) EGPMF Sustainable Catch, survey catch rate
Western Australia North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) KPMF, NBPMF Sustainable Catch
Western Australia Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) SBPMF Sustainable Catch
ECOTF
East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (QLD)
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NPF
Northern Prawn Fishery (CTH)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
TSPF
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (CTH)
Toggle content

Stock Structure

Endeavour Prawns includes two species, Blue Endeavour Prawn Metapenaeus endeavouri, and Red Endeavour Prawn M. ensis that are generally not distinguished in fisheries. Although the two species are caught in differing proportions in different regions.

Endeavour Prawn fisheries are located in Shark Bay, Exmouth Gulf, the north coast of Western Australia, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Torres Strait and the east coast of Queensland. Little is known about the biological stock structure of the populations of Blue and Red Endeavour Prawns that make up these fisheries. The majority of catch reported in this chapter is Blue Endeavour Prawn. Red Endeavour Prawn represents less than 20 per cent of the catch in the East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery [Turnbull and Atfield 2007]) and between 20–40 per cent in the Northern Prawn Fishery.

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn), Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth); Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn), Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia); and East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Queensland).

Toggle content

Stock Status

East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn)

From 1998 to 2015, there has been a general upward trend in the nominal catch rate [Wang et al. 2015] for Endeavour Prawns (species combined, as they are not differentiated in commercial logbooks). The harvest ratio between Blue and Red Endeavour Prawns has been reasonably stable at approximately 80:20. The overall catch rate was close to historical low levels in 2017 however this has fluctuated since 2005 with no overall trend evident [QDAF 2018]. Effort in this fishery stabilized in 2007, following management changes, marine park closures and the rising operational costs. The average annual catch rate for the past five years (2012–17) was 59 kg per day, which is 13 per cent higher than the long-term average (1990–2015). Current harvest levels are significantly lower than 2001 levels when an assessment concluded that Endeavour Prawns were fully exploited [Turnbull and Gribble 2004] although catches have been reasonably stable over the last ten years (2008–17). The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

The average annual commercial harvest of Endeavour Prawns in the past five years (2012–17) was 489 t, which is roughly half of the long-term average of 959 t for the period from 1990–2017. The fishing effort associated with 2017 catch (9 943 days) was only 51 per cent of the long-term average of 20 329 fishing days. Current effort levels are below both effort at maximum sustainable yield (EMSY) and effort at maximum economic yield (EMEY) predictions for both the northern (above latitude 16°S) and southern (latitude 16–22°S) parts of the fishery area [QDAF 2018]. This level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the multispecies East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Queensland) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

The Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia) contributes the majority of the commercial landings of Blue Endeavour Prawns in Western Australia. Blue Endeavour Prawns are a secondary target species whose distribution partly overlaps with that of Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns and are caught when fishers are targeting these two species [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. In 2017, the Harvest Strategy for the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery was modified to include Blue Endeavour Prawns [DPIRD 2018] with specific limit (4.5 kg/hr) and target (9 kg/hr) reference levels based of fishery independent surveys for the spawning stock and overall stock assessment of this species is based on a weight-of-evidence (WOE) approach as for Western King and Brown Tiger prawns in this fishery.

Fishery-independent spawning stock and recruitment surveys of Brown Tiger and Western King Prawn grounds also record the abundance of Blue Endeavour Prawns that provide an annual spawning stock and recruitment abundance index expressed in terms of survey catch rate. In 2017, the mean survey catch rate for the Blue Endeavour Prawn spawning stock was 26.6 kg per hour, well above the target. A secondary performance indicator is the annual recruitment survey catch rate which indicates recruitment strength. A preliminary catch prediction has been developed for this species based on the mean annual recruitment index and landings since 2012 when Blue Endeavour Prawns have been retained more consistently due to improved markets. The recruitment catch rate index in 2017 of 12.7 kg per hour was below the 10 year mean (2007–16) of 16.7 kg per hour but within the cate rate index range of 4.4–43.2 kg per hour. The preliminary catch prediction was 160–240 t and landings (217 t) were within this range. There has been no declining trend in the fishery-independent survey catch rates over the periods sampled in either of these fishing grounds for either the spawning stock or recruitment. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of the stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired.

A target catch range is set at 120–300 t, based on historical catches between 1989 and 1998, a period when the stock was considered to be moderately exploited [Gaughan and Santoro 2018] and retention rates varied due to the abundance of the key target species (Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns) as well as market demand. Total catch in 2017 was within the target catch range and just above the average catch over the past 15 years (191 t) [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. In the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery management unit, a significant portion of the breeding biomass is protected by the Brown Tiger Prawn spawning closures [Kangas et al. 2015] and an additional portion of the Blue Endeavour Prawn biomass occurs inshore of the key fishing grounds for Brown Tiger Prawns, which are permanently closed. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

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

North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

Blue Endeavour Prawns are landed in low numbers in the North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries, as they are a minor retained species when targeting Banana Prawn or Brown Tiger and Western King Prawns. Permanent and temporal spatial closure implement for the key target species in these fisheries provide added protection to Blue Endeavour Prawns. In the past 10 years (2007–16) the landings of Blue Endeavour Prawn in these minor fisheries combined has been between 2 and 15 t. The total combined catch for all the fisheries in 2017 was 4 t. The low level of catch of this species and the maintenance of these catches over time suggest that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired and also unlikely to become recruitment impaired. Based on the evidence provided above, the North Coast Prawn Managed Fishery Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia) Blue Endeavour management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

Blue Endeavour Prawn is assessed as part of the integrated bioeconomic model for the Northern Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) Tiger Prawn sector [Buckworth et al. 2016]. Commercial catch of Endeavour Prawn is disaggregated into separate species using a model incorporating historical fishery-independent survey data [Venables and Dichmont 2004]. Blue Endeavour Prawn is assessed using a biomass dynamic model, which estimated the spawner stock size at the end of 2015 to be at 77 per cent of the spawner stock size that would be required for maximum sustainable yield (SMSY) [Buckworth et al. 2016]. This is above the limit reference point of 50 per cent (0.5SMSY). As a result, the stock is not considered to be recruitment impaired [Larcombe et al. 2018].

The commercial catch in recent years has not exceeded 400 tonnes (t) and in 2017 was 219 t, which is below the estimate of maximum sustainable yield (base-case estimate of 813 t) [Buckworth et al. 2016]. This level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the management unit to become recruitment impaired [Larcombe et al. 2018].

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn)

There is currently no reliable assessment to confidently classify the status of this stock [Larcombe et al. 2018]. Catches over recent years have been quite low compared with historical highs and have not exceeded 300 t. The catch in 2017 was 161 t. These lower catches are most likely related to a decrease in fishing effort directed at Tiger Prawn, rather than any indication of a decline in Red Endeavour Prawn biomass, as Red Endeavour Prawns are caught as a by-product species by effort directed at Tiger Prawns. There is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Northern Prawn Fishery (Red Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.

Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

Blue Endeavour Prawns are landed in low numbers in the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery, as they are a minor retained species when targeting Brown Tiger or Western King Prawns. The landings in the past 10 years (2007–16) have been between one and 23 t. Landings in 2017 were 2 t; that is, within this range. The low level of catch of this species and the maintenance of these catches over time provide evidence that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be recruitment impaired. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock to become recruitment impaired.

Based on the evidence provided above, the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Western Australia) management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn)

The most recent assessment was conducted in 2009 [Larcombe et al. 2018] and applied a deterministic size- and age-structured model with a fixed stock–recruitment steepness value of 0.5. Biomass in 2007 was estimated to be 80 per cent of the unfished (1967) level, with biomass at MSY estimated at 43 per cent of unfished. MSY was estimated to be 1105 t (90 per cent confidence interval (CI) 1 060–1 184 t) and fishing effort at MSY was estimated to be 10 079 nights (90 per cent CI 9 667–10 800 nights). The Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Commonwealth) has an objective of maintaining biomass above the biomass level associated with MSY.

Since 2002, catch has been below the range of estimated MSY (1 060 t), and effort has been below the range associated with MSY (9 667 nights). The 2007 biomass estimate of 80 per cent unfished biomass above the estimated BMSY of 43 per cent and well above the proxy limit reference point of 20 per cent unfished levels.

The outputs from the 2009 stock assessment for Blue Endeavour prawn have become less relevant over time, with increased uncertainty in current status due to highly variable recruitment, short life span, changes in fleet dynamics and vessel efficiency, and changes in catch and effort. Furthermore, nominal catch rates for Blue Endeavour prawn have declined by over 50 per cent since 2008 [Turnbull and Cocking 2018]. The 2009 stock assessment is no longer regarded as a sound basis for determining stock status, hence there is insufficient information available to confidently classify the status of this stock.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Blue Endeavour Prawn) (Commonwealth) management unit is classified as an undefined stock.

Toggle content

Biology

Red and Blue Endeavour Prawn biology [Courtney et al. 1989, Kailola et al. 1993, Keating et al. 1990, Kangas et al. 2015, Somers et al. 1987, Yearsley et al. 1999]
Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
ENDEAVOUR PRAWNS 1–2 years, 200 mm TL  ~6 months Females 24–26 mm CL Males ~18 mm CL
Toggle content

Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns
Toggle content

Tables

Fishing methods
Commonwealth Western Australia Queensland
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Indigenous
Unspecified
Recreational
Unspecified
Cast Net
Management methods
Method Commonwealth Western Australia Queensland
Charter
Possession limit
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Vessel restrictions
Recreational
Possession limit
Active vessels
Commonwealth Western Australia Queensland
52 in NPF, 13 in TSPF 6 in EGPMF, 9 in KPMF, 5 in NBPMF, 16 in SBPMF 186 in ECOTF
ECOTF
East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (QLD)
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NPF
Northern Prawn Fishery (CTH)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
TSPF
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (CTH)
Catch
Commonwealth Western Australia Queensland
Commercial 380.00t in NPF, 24.82t in TSPF 216.56t in EGPMF, 3.87t in KPMF, NBPMF, 1.89t in SBPMF 399.79t in ECOTF
Indigenous Unknown 0 t Negligible
Recreational 0 t Negligible
ECOTF
East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (QLD)
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NPF
Northern Prawn Fishery (CTH)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
TSPF
Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (CTH)

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.

Queensland – Commercial (fishing methods) Recreational fishers are permitted to catch Endeavour Prawn, but are unlikely to catch them in large amounts due to the distribution of this species group.

Queensland – Indigenous (management methods) In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers are entitled to use prescribed traditional and non-commercial fishing apparatus in waters open to fishing. Size and possession limits and seasonal closures do not apply to Indigenous fishers. Full exemptions to fishery regulations may be applied for through permits.

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.

Toggle content

Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Red and Blue Endeavour Prawns - note confidential catch not shown
Toggle content

References

  1. Buckworth, RC, Hutton, T, Deng, R, Upston, J 2016, Status of the Northern Prawn Fishery Tiger Prawn fishery at the end of 2015 with TAE estimation for 2016, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, 2016.
  2. Courtney, A, Dredge, M, and Masel, J 1989, Reproductive Biology and Spawning Periodicity of Endeavour Shrimps Metapenaeus endeavouri (Schmitt, 1926) and Metapenaeus ensis (de Haan, 1850) from a Central Queensland (Australia) Fishery, Asian Fisheries Science, 3: 133–147.
  3. DPIRD 2018, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery harvest strategy 2014–2019.
  4. Gaughan D and Santoro K (eds) 2018, State of the fisheries and aquatic resources report 2016/17, Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Perth.
  5. Kailola, PJ, Williams, MJ, Stewart, PC, Reichelt, RE, McNee, A and Grieve, C 1993, Australian Fisheries Resources, Bureau of Rural Resources and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  6. Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Moore, N, Cavalli, P and Fisher, EA 2015, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series, 1: 273 pp.
  7. Keating, J, Watson, R, and Sterling, D 1990, Reproductive biology of Penaeus esculentus (Haswell, 1879) and Metapenaeus endeavouri (Schmitt, 1926) in Torres Strait, in Mellors, J (ed.), in Torres Strait prawn project: a review of research 1986–1988, Queensland Department of Primary Industries Information Series, Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane.
  8. Larcombe, J, Marton, N and Curtotti, R, 2018, Northern Prawn Fishery, in H Patterson, J Larcombe, S Nicol and R Curtotti (eds), Fishery status reports 2018, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Canberra.
  9. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19-20 June 2018, Brisbane.
  10. Somers, I, Poiner, I and Harris, A 1987, A study of the species composition and distribution of commercial penaeid prawns in Torres Strait, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38: 47–61.
  11. Turnbull, C and Cocking, L 2018, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Data Summary 2017, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra, Australia.
  12. Turnbull, C and Gribble, N 2004, Assessment of the northern Queensland Tiger and Endeavour prawn stocks: 2004 update, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  13. Turnbull, CT and Atfield, JC 2007, Fisheries Long Term Monitoring Program—Summary of tiger and endeavour prawn survey results: 1998–2006, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane, Australia
  14. Venables, W and Dichmont, C 2004, GLMs, GAMs and GLMMs: an overview of theory for applications in fisheries research, Fisheries Research, 70: 319–337.
  15. Wang, N, Wang, Y-G, Courtney, AJ and 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.
  16. Yearsley, G, Last, P and Ward, R 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.