Project number: 2004-099
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $566,865.00
Principal Investigator: Yimin Ye
Organisation: CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart
Project start/end date: 29 Dec 2004 - 31 Jan 2006


An international review of the NPF tiger prawn assessment agreed with the conclusions of the 2001 assessment that tiger prawn stock levels were critically low, especially for brown tiger prawns. The 2002 assessment further concluded that brown tiger prawn levels were too low and also emphasized the critical need for an independent monitoring program given the confounding and complexities of the catch rate data used as the sole index of abundance in the NPF assessments. The 2003 assessment suggests that brown tiger prawn stocks are recovering but, given the high level of uncertainty in the assessment, this recovery needs to be independently tested.

The survey data used to determine the initial design for this project (see Background) was more than a decade old and did not cover the full study area. Since the first survey, changes have been made to the survey design to improve the accuracy of the abundance estimates obtained from the surveys. This design needs to be further developed and tested. Work has also begun on developing methods for incorporating the results of the surveys into stock assessments, but more research is required to overcome several technical difficulties encountered.

In this proposal, the CSIRO salaries associated with testing the survey design and with developing new methods of incorporating the results into stock assessments are seen as research. We are therefore requesting about $47,000 from FRDC’s MOU funds. For this reason, CSIRO is also supporting the project to the scale of about $86,000. The remainder of the project, some $520,000, will be underwritten by the industry as agreed in NORMAC, June 2003. The industry and NORMAC have also re-affirmed the long-term need for regular industry-funded monitoring surveys based on the output of this project.

There is a need to provide an updated design for the NPF that would work in the long-term to provide indices of abundance for key species and enhance a difficult-to-use commercial catch rate series. Furthermore, this design needs to address target, byproduct and possibly some effects-of-trawling issues to make the best use of the surveys.


1. To refine the design and analyses for two trawl surveys in the Gulf of Carpentaria
2. To undertake a survey in August 2004 to provide biomass and spawning indices of the main commercial prawn species in the Gulf of Carpentaria
3. To undertake a survey in January/February 2005 to provide a recruitment index of the main commercial prawn species in the Gulf of Carpentaria
4. To determine the appropriate scale and frequency of future surveys
5. To spatially map the distribution of the main prawn and byproduct species in the Gulf of Carpentaria
6. To develop methods that can incorporate survey information effectively into stock assessment

Final report

ISBN: 1-921061-27-8
Author: Yimin Ye
Final Report • 2006-05-02


An international review of the Northern Prawn Fishery tiger prawn assessment was carried out in 2001. The review drew attention to the high level of uncertainty in the assessment and recommended that the logbook data be augmented by fishery-independent survey data. In response to the review, industry funded a consultancy project in 2002 to investigate and design an integrated monitoring program for the NPF. Following an industry meeting, NORMAC decided to conduct a one-year pilot survey in 2002/03. The project (FRDC 2002/101) was funded through the FRDC, and included a spawning index survey in August and a recruitment index survey in January. The success of the pilot project led to a FRDC-funded monitoring project (FRDC 2003/075) in 2003/04 and this project (FRDC 2004/099) in 2004/05. 

Two surveys were undertaken during the 2004/05 financial year.

Related research


Attendance at the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, Tenure and User Rights Conference in Yeosu, Korea 10 to 14 September 2018

1. 1. Oral presentation on the delegated Ministerial powers provided to Officers of the Spencer Gulf West Coast Prawn Fishermen’s Association to set short term management arrangements in the SGPF.2. To increase the applicant’s knowledge and understanding of fisheries management arrangements applied...
Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA)