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TIGER PRAWNS (2018)

Penaeus esculentus, Penaeus semisulcatus

  • James Larcombe (Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences)
  • Brad Zeller (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland)
  • Matthew Taylor (Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales)
  • Mervi Kangas (Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia)

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Summary

Tiger Prawn stocks in the COMM, NT, WA and QLD are sustainable. There is one negligible stock in NSW and one undefined stock in the COMM (Torres Strait). The assessment includes both Brown Tiger and Grooved Tiger Prawns.

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Stock Status Overview

Stock status determination
Jurisdiction Stock Fisheries Stock status Indicators
Western Australia Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn) EGPMF Sustainable Biomass and recruitment surveys, catch, CPUE
Western Australia North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries (Brown Tiger Prawn) KPMF, NBPMF, OPMF Sustainable Catch, effort
Western Australia Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn) SBPMF Sustainable Biomass and recruitment surveys, catch, CPUE
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
OPMF
Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
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Stock Structure

The standard name ‘Tiger Prawn’ refers to the species Penaeus esculentus, P. semisulcatus and P. japonicus. Only P. esculentus (Brown Tiger Prawn) and P. semisulcatus (Grooved Tiger Prawn) are considered in this chapter; P. japonicus is not caught commercially in Australian waters.

Brown Tiger Prawns are endemic to tropical and subtropical waters of Australia, while Grooved Tiger Prawns have a wider Indo–West Pacific distribution. There is some genetic evidence of separation of Brown Tiger Prawn stocks from the east and west coasts of Australia [Ward et al. 2006].

Here, assessment of stock status is presented at the management unit level—Northern Prawn Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn) , Northern Prawn Fishery (Grooved Tiger Prawn), Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn) (Commonwealth); Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn), Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn) (Western Australia), North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries (Brown Tiger Prawn) (Western Australia; East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery (Brown and Grooved Tiger Prawn) (Queensland); and at the jurisdictional level—New South Wales (Brown Tiger Prawn).

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Stock Status

Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn)

Stock assessments for this management unit are undertaken using similar methods to those used in the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia). The management objective is to maintain the spawning biomass (using catch rate as a proxy for biomass) above the historically determined biological reference points [Penn et al. 1995] with a target of 25 kg per hour and a limit of 10 kg per hour in the spawning stock surveys [DoF 2018]. Daily monitoring of catch rates ensure cessation of fishing when catch rates drop below the target level within the key spawning area or in early-August, whichever comes first. Three standardised Brown Tiger Prawn spawning stock surveys were carried out from August–October 2017, achieving an average catch rate of 44.9 kg per hour, well above the target level. The fishery has recovered from the effects of the 2010–11 marine heatwave [Caputi et al. 2014a, 2016] that may have affected survival of recruits in the inshore nursery habitat in recent years. The above evidence indicates that the biomass of this stock is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

Standardised commercial catch per unit effort (CPUE) data are used as an additional indicator of abundance to monitor changes in stock levels from year-to-year. The commercial catches and catch rates are compared with 10 year (1989–98) reference points [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. The 10 year reference point sets an annual target catch range of 250–550 t and the revised 2017 Brown Tiger Prawn catch prediction (based on the recruitment surveys) was 410–620 t. The total 2017 catch of 366 t was within the target catch range but below the 2017 catch prediction [Gaughan and Santoro 2018, Caputi et al. 2014b]. The level of fishing effort has reduced from historical levels of 35 000–50 000 hours (standardised to twin gear) to 24 000 trawl hours in 2017. The total number of vessels has also reduced significantly over time from 23 to six larger vessels operating with quad trawl gear. The above evidence indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock within the management unit to become recruitment overfished.

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

North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries (Brown Tiger Prawn)

Small quantities of Brown Tiger Prawns have been landed from the North Coast prawn fisheries in recent years, with Brown Tiger Prawn only being a key target species in the Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery. These fisheries use annual catch in reference to a target catch range as an indicator of acceptable performance and evaluating if the stock is subjected to overfishing. Where the annual catch falls outside of the range this needs to be adequately explained or additional investigations undertaken. In 2017, all the North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries combined landed less than 10 t of Brown Tiger Prawn [Gaughan and Santoro 2018] reflecting the low effort expended in these fisheries, particularly for this species. Only one boat operated for five nights in total in the Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery in 2017. The fishing effort in the Kimberley and Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fisheries is primarily directed at White Banana Prawns. The overall annual mean fleet effort in the Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery was higher in 2017 due to a higher abundance of White Banana Prawns but very little effort was directed to Brown Tiger Prawns, which is reflected in the low landings. The overall annual mean fleet effort in the Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery has reduced since 2007 with 700 boat days fished between 1990 and 2005 and in 2017 it was 283 boat days. In the Kimberley, the number of operators actively fishing each year has declined from around 20–50 boats (in excess of 1 000 boat days) in the 1990s and early 2000s to less than 15 since 2009 (less than 500 boat days). The above evidence indicates the biomass of this management unit is unlikely to be depleted and recruitment is unlikely to be impaired. Furthermore, 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 North Coast Prawn Managed Fisheries (Western Australia) Brown Tiger Prawn management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Brown Tiger Prawn)

The status of Brown Tiger Prawn stocks is assessed annually using fishery-independent biomass and recruitment surveys and a weight-of-evidence approach that considers a range of relevant information [Wise et al. 2007]. The assessment approach is primarily based on separate monitoring of fishery-independent indices (survey catch rates) of recruitment and spawning stock levels relative to specified reference points [DoF 2014, 2015]. Surveys provide an index of annual recruitment that is used for predicting annual Brown Tiger Prawn catches. Other information collected throughout the season (for example, commercial catches, effort and environmental data) are also evaluated to provide insight into, for example, operational factors that might affect fishery performance, or spawning stock and environmental factors affecting prawn recruitment.

Standardised commercial CPUE data are used as an additional indicator of abundance, to monitor changes in stock levels from year-to-year. The annual commercial catches and catch rates are compared with 10 year (1989–98) average catch and catch rate reference points [Gaughan and Santoro 2018].

A spawning stock–recruitment relationship is evident for Brown Tiger Prawns [Caputi, 1993, Caputi et al. 1998, Penn et al. 1995] and therefore the maintenance of adequate spawning stock (using a target catch rate) to ensure adequate recruitment is the key management objective [Gaughan and Santoro 2018]. Brown Tiger Prawns are managed to achieve reference catch rate levels through control rules [DoF 2014, 2015] that trigger a management response in the form of either a review of season/management arrangements if catch rates are at, or below, a threshold reference level, or changes to management arrangements if catch rates are at, or below, the limit reference level. A mandatory closure of the Brown Tiger Prawn northern spawning area is also enforced from June onwards to protect the spawning stock. Once fishing ceases, fishery-independent surveys are conducted to verify catch rates in the closed northern and southern (open) spawning areas.

The June 2017 an initial northern spawning stock survey showed a mean standardised catch rate of 21 kg per hour, which was below the target level of 25 kg per hour [DoF 2014]. However, a second survey in August at the start of the main spawning season provided a catch rate of 28 kg per hour, which was above the target level. This standardised catch rate indicates that the biomass within this management unit is unlikely to be depleted and that recruitment is unlikely to be impaired.

The 10 year reference point sets an annual target catch range for the fishery of 400–700 t. For 2017, the Brown Tiger Prawn catch prediction (based on the recruitment surveys) was 305–460 t and the season catch achieved (422 t) were within the target catch range and the 2017 predicted catch range [Gaughan and Santoro 2018, Caputi et al. 2014b]. The level of fishing effort since 2007 has remained between 33 000 and 41 000 trawl hours (standardised to twin nets) with fishing effort in 2017 being 40 500 trawl hours. The combined evidence above indicates that the current level of fishing pressure is unlikely to cause the stock within the management unit to become recruitment impaired.

On the basis of the evidence provided above, the stock within the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (Western Australia) Brown Tiger Prawn management unit is classified as a sustainable stock.

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Biology

Brown and Grooved Tiger Prawn biology [Kangas et al. 2015 a,b, Somers 1987, Yearsley et al. 1999]

Biology
Species Longevity / Maximum Size Maturity (50 per cent)
TIGER PRAWNS 1–2 years, 55 mm CL  East Coast: ~6 month, 32–39 mm CL West coast: ~6 months, 27–35 mm CL Northern Australia: ~6 months, 32–39 mm CL
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Distributions

Distribution of reported commercial catch of Tiger Prawns
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Tables

Fishing methods
Western Australia
Commercial
Otter Trawl
Management methods
Method Western Australia
Commercial
Effort limits
Gear restrictions
Limited entry
Spatial closures
Temporal closures
Active vessels
Western Australia
6 in EGPMF, 7 in KPMF, 7 in NBPMF, <3 in OPMF, 18 in SBPMF
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
OPMF
Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
Catch
Western Australia
Commercial 366.25t in EGPMF, 9.43t in KPMF, NBPMF, OPMF, 421.51t in SBPMF
Indigenous No Catch
Recreational No Catch
EGPMF
Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
KPMF
Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
NBPMF
Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
OPMF
Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)
SBPMF
Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (WA)

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. 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); the 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 – Indigenous In Queensland, under the Fisheries Act 1994 (Qld), Indigenous fishers are able 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. Further exemptions to fishery regulations can be obtained through permits.

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Catch Chart

Commercial catch of Tiger Prawns - note confidential catch not shown
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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. Caputi, N 1993, Aspects of spawner-recruit relationships, with particular reference to crustacean stocks: a review, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 44: 589–607.
  3. Caputi, N, de Lestang, S,Hart, A, Kangas, M, Johnston, D and Penn, J 2014b, Catch Predictions in Stock Assessment and Management of Invertebrate Fisheries Using Pre-Recruit Abundance—Case Studies from Western Australia, Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture, 22:1, 36-54.
  4. Caputi, N, Feng, M, Pearce, A, Benthuysen, J, Denham, A, Hetzel, Y, Matear, R, Jackson, G, Molony, B, Joll, L and Chandrapavan, A 2014a, Management implications of climate change effect on fisheries in Western Australia: part 1, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation project 2010/535, Fisheries research report, Western Australian Department of Fisheries.
  5. Caputi, N, Kangas, M, Hetzel, Y, Denham, A, Pearce, A and Chandrapavan, A 2016, Management adaptation of invertebrate fisheries to an extreme marine heat wave event at a global warming hotspot. Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2137
  6. Caputi, N, Penn, JW, Joll, LM and Chubb, CF 1998, Stock–recruitment–environment relationships for invertebrate species of Western Australia, in GS Jamieson and A Campbell (eds), Proceedings of the North Pacific Symposium on Invertebrate Stock Assessment and Management, Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 125: 247–255.
  7. Department of Fisheries 2014, Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery Harvest Strategy 2014–2019, Fisheries Management Paper No. 267, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
  8. Department of Fisheries 2015, Harvest Strategy Policy and Operational Guidelines for the Aquatic Resources of Western Australia, Fisheries Management Paper No. 271, Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
  9. Department of Fisheries 2018, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery Harvest Strategy 2014 – 2019 Version 1.1. Fisheries Management Paper No. 265. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia.
  10. Gaughan D, Santoro K (eds.) 2018, State of the fisheries and aquatic resources report 2016/17, Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Perth.
  11. Jacobsen, I, Zeller, B, Dunning, M, Garland, A, Courtney T, & Jebreen, E, An Ecological Risk Assessment of the Southern Queensland East Coast Otter Trawl Fishery and River and Inshore Beam Trawl Fishery, Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  12. Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Brand-Gardner, SJ, Cavalli, P and Harry, AV 2015b, Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series 2: 294 pp.
  13. Kangas, MI, Sporer, EC, Hesp, SA, Travaille, KL, Moore, N, Cavalli, P and Fisher, EA 2015a, Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery, Western Australian Marine Stewardship Council Report Series 1: 273 pp.
  14. 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.
  15. Larcombe, J, Zeller, B, Kangas, M and Taylor, M, 2016, Tiger Prawns, Penaeus esculentus, Penaeus semiculcatus, in Carolyn Stewardson, James Andrews, Crispian Ashby, Malcolm Haddon, Klaas Hartmann, Patrick Hone, Peter Horvat, Stephen Mayfield, Anthony Roelofs, Keith Sainsbury, Thor Saunders, John Stewart, Ilona Stobutzki and Brent Wise (eds) 2016, Status of Australian fish stocks reports 2016, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra.
  16. O’Neill, MF and Turnbull, CT 2006, Stock assessment of the Torres Strait Tiger Prawn Fishery (Penaeus esculentus), Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  17. 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.
  18. Penn, JW, Caputi, N and Hall, NG 1995, Stock–recruitment relationships for the tiger prawn (Penaeus esculentus) stocks in Western Australia, ICES Marine Science Symposium, 199: 320–333.
  19. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries 2018, Queensland Stock Status Assessment Workshop Proceedings 2018. Species Summaries. 19-20 June 2018, Brisbane.
  20. Somers, IE 1987, Sediment type as a factor in the distribution of commercial prawn species in the Western Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia, Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38: 133–149.
  21. Taylor, S, Turnbull, C, Marrington, J and George, M (eds) 2007, Torres Strait prawn handbook 2007, Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Canberra.
  22. Turnbull, C and Cocking, L 2018, Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Data Summary 2017, Australian Fisheries Management Authority. Canberra, Australia.
  23. Wang, N, 2015, Application of a weekly delay-difference model to commercial catch and effort data in multi-species fisheries, PhD Thesis, University of Queensland and Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Brisbane.
  24. Ward, R, Ovenden, J, Meadows, J, Grewe, P and Lehnert, S 2006, Population genetic structure of the brown tiger prawn, Penaeus esculentus, in tropical northern Australia, Marine Biology, 148(3): 599–607.
  25. Wise, BS, St. John, J and Lenanton, R 2007, Spatial scales of exploitation among populations of demersal scalefish: Implications for management. Part 1: Stock status of the key indicator species for the demersal scalefish fishery in the West Coast Bioregion. Report to the FRDC on Project No. 2003/052. Fisheries Research Report No 163. Department of Fisheries, Western Australia, 130 pp.
  26. Yearsley, GK, Last, PR and Ward, RD 1999, Australian seafood handbook: domestic species, CSIRO Marine Research, Hobart.

Downloadable reports

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