Mr Jim Raptis of Raptis and Sons Pty Ltd claims that fuel costs aline in the Northern Prawn Fishery (in which his company operates) are $2million pa. It is conservatively estimated that improved net designs may result in fuel savings of at least 10%: a saving of at least $200,000 pa. Such fuel reductions will also have favourable consequences both directly and indirectly through favourable public exposure, in meeting targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that these are good reasons for extending the research already done in Gulf St Vincent to trial novel net designs based on improved "Spectra" twine, a material that offers greater strength and less drag than conventional netting. Although it is propsed that the research be done in Gulf St Vincent, using commercial vessels engaged in the fishery, the results will have clear implications for other prawn fisheries such as the NPF. With a favourable result and strong industry endorsement, it is likely that the nets will be rapidly adopted in other prawn fleets around Australia.
The research team assembled has an impressive track record of achievement in gear design and application in prawn fisheries. We propose to trial three net configurations including a conventional mesh net, 50mm Spectra, and 60mm Momoy netting. We will compare prawn size selectivity an fuel consumption over at least 5 nights in Gulf St Vincent later this summer.