Sustainable Management

The fishery has operated under a detailed and sophisticated management regime since 1962. Catches over the last 30 years have been maintained within a range of 1,000 – 2,300 tonnes per year.

Some of the more important measures included for sustainable management of the fishery include:

•    Small numbers of vessels in the fleet
•    Fixed season closures (November – March)
•    Real time monitoring of fleet dynamics and catches
•    Areas are closed or opened depending on catch rates and sizes of prawns
•    Permanent area closures to preserve sensitive habitats that are essential nursery areas for prawns and other species
•    Time closures (including full moons) and restricted fishing to night hours
•    Input controls on gear and vessel equipment.

Assessments of the fisheries current performance demonstrate that all species are currently being maintained above levels necessary to maintain an ecologically viable fishery:

•    The breeding stock level for tiger prawn stock in Shark Bay is currently above the agreed reference point. Additional protection is now given through complete closure of the main spawning grounds once the threshold catch rate is reached.
•    The historical catch and effort trends over the past 40 years indicate that there has been no decline in the production levels for king prawn in Shark Bay, which is consistent with there being sufficient on going levels of spawning biomass for this species.

Shark Bay Wild has received Marine Stewardship Council certification as a sustainable fishery for our commitment to the ongoing care and management of Western Australia's prawn stocks (read the full story here).

We are proud to be a sustainable fishery and are constantly working with leading scientists to maintain our status.