Project number: 2008-019
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $449,960.30
Principal Investigator: Tony J. Courtney
Organisation: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct
Project start/end date: 28 Feb 2009 - 29 May 2012


Stock assessment of the EKP fishery, and the subsequent advice to management and industry, could be improved by addressing a number of issues.

The recruitment dynamics of EKPs in the northern (i.e., North Reef to the Swain Reefs) parts of the fishery need to be clarified. Fishers report that the size of the prawns from these areas when they recruit to the fishing grounds is resulting in sub-optimal sizes/ages at first capture, and therefore localised growth overfishing.

There is a need to assess alternative harvest strategies of the EKP fishery, via computer simulations, particularly seasonal and monthly or lunar-based closures to identify scenarios that improve the value of the catch, decrease costs and reduce the risk of overfishing, prior to implementing new management measures.

The project is highly relevant to FRDC priorities and directly addresses the FRDC R&D 2005-2010 Plan, namely Program 1 Natural Resources Sustainability, Challenge 1 – Natural Resource Sustainability “Maintain and improve the management and use of aquatic natural resources to ensure their sustainability”.

The proposal directly addresses the QFIRAC 2007 R&D priorities for Trawl Fisheries which specifically refer to “Undertaking management strategy evaluations for the Eastern King Prawn fishery, particularly the potential for seasonal closures…”.

It also addresses the Queensland TrawlMAC “high” research priorities in relation to improving our understanding of the stock-recruitment relationships and undertaking management strategy evaluations.

In summary, there is a strong need for this project, which addresses the high research priorities identified by FRDC, QFIRAC and the Queensland TrawlMAC. It is focused on Queensland’s most valuable fished stock, eastern king prawns.


1. Investigate the recruitment dynamics of eastern king prawns in their northern-most distribution (i.e., the North Reef-Swain Reefs area).
2. Undertake an economic analysis of the eastern king prawn fishery and determine the optimum yield and effort for profitability.
3. Develop (computer) models of the eastern king prawn fishery that evaluate alternative harvest strategies, as identified by the fishery managers and fishers, and provide advice on the efficacy of each strategy in achieving biological and economic management objectives.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-7345-0439-5
Author: Tony Courtney

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)