Disseminating existing bycatch reduction and fuel efficiency technologies throughout Australia's prawn fisheries

Project Number:



IC Independent Consulting Pty Ltd

Principal Investigator:

Steve J. Kennelly

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Adoption, Environment, Industry


Despite decades developing more selective fishing gears, bycatch and discarding remain major fisheries issues throughout the world with demersal prawn trawling still considered one of the least selective fishing methods. In addition to large quantities of bycatch, demersal trawling can also disturb benthic habitats, upon which prawns and associated ecosystems depend. Not only can such disturbances affect these systems, they also contribute to the high energy needs of trawlers, reducing their fuel efficiency. Issues of bycatch and fuel efficiency are now becoming uppermost in the concerns of many stakeholders including: prawn trawl operators (who wish to reduce running costs and discard handling), environmental groups (who are concerned about ecosystem disturbance and energy use), eco-labelling agencies (whose requirements focus on bycatch and habitat impacts), and the general public (who dictate the social licence to operate for such fisheries). These issues have therefore attracted the attention of many governments and international agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)—who first coined the term Low Impact Fuel Efficient gears (LIFE) for methods that reduce bycatch whilst improving fuel efficiency. For several decades Australia’s gear technologists have been developing solutions to such issues, the end-result of which is detailed information on a broad array of technologies that can ameliorate them. It has been decided that the next phase in progressing solutions throughout Australia is to disseminate the available information to as many prawn fishers, net makers, jurisdictional scientists and managers as possible via a series of port visits and workshops. At these workshops, specific bycatch and efficiency issues for each fishery will also be identified and potential solution(s) developed, together with a timeframe for examination and an appropriate work team.


1. Review ACPF’s risk/gap matrix and undertake a preliminary analysis of the types of technologies that would be beneficial for discussion/testing in each fishery

2. Identify the best locations and times for individual port visits in WA, Qld, NT, SA, VIC and NSW

3. Do the port visits at which: (i) the latest information on bycatch reduction and fuel efficiency technologies will be presented; and (ii) particular issue(s) identified for each fishery will be discussed and various technological solutions will be outlined and considered

4. During and after these workshops, document a process for trials of appropriate technologies that arise

5. Identify any other gaps (technological, administrative, etc) that may arise during the workshops

6. Provide a final report which describes the outcomes from each workshop and consequent actions for trials in each fishery