The award winning Shark Bay prawn fishery has had a very successful 2000 season, Fisheries Minister Monty House said today.
During the March to November season, the 27 licensed fishing vessels in the fishery caught more than 2,000 tonnes of prawns, consisting mainly of king (1,541 tonnes) and tiger prawns (687 tonnes) worth more than of $41 million, compared with $33.3 million in 1999.
Mr House said the significant increase in value was the result of good catches of the highly valued tiger prawns and more solid prices than the previous season.
“This fishery is very tightly managed through a strictly controlled set of time and area closures designed to capture prawns at optimum size for the market, while protecting the breeding stock and the nursery habitats,” he said.
“The introduction of the satellite-based vessel monitoring system, or VMS, in the 2000 season also provided a much higher level of surveillance of these closures than was possible in the past.
“VMS has opened up opportunities to develop more sophisticated and better-delivered time-area closure arrangements.”
Mr House said in addition to the introduction of the VMS the fishery had use of by-catch reduction gear (a mechanism to prevent large animals like sharks and sting rays from being caught), which was in line with the Government’s by-catch policy for Western Australian fisheries.
The achievements of the Shark Bay Prawn Managed Fishery were recognised recently when Fisheries WA won the Economic Development category of the recent Premier’s Awards.
Mr House said the award recognised a 40-year partnership in the long-term management of the fishery by Fisheries WA and the prawn fishing industry which, alongside the Western Rock Lobster Fishery, was among the best-managed fisheries in the world.
"Sound management of the prawn fishery has resulted in economic and social benefits to the State and the Gascoyne region with the industry generating long-term regional employment opportunities with more than 300 jobs being provided during the eight-month season," he said.
Media contact: Peter Jackson 9481 2044