The opening of the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) tiger prawn season on Sunday 1 August will see 52 trawlers and crews set sail to catch tiger prawns across Australia’s top end.
The tiger prawn season is a major contributor to the NPF’s position as one of Australia's most valuable Commonwealth fisheries, with an estimated value of $120m in 2018-19.
AFMA CEO, Wez Norris, said co-management of the NPF between AFMA and the NPF Industry Pty Ltd (NPFI) continues to deliver consumers with sustainably caught wild tiger prawns through effective management of this natural resource.
“NPFI continues to demonstrate responsible stewardship in the NPF. Industry-led initiatives such as industry developed Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs) has significantly reduced the fishery’s environmental impacts.”
“Limits on daylight trawling reduces the catch of egg-bearing female tiger prawns, ensuring that prawn stocks will be around for generations of seafood lovers.” said Mr Norris
NPFI CEO Annie Jarrett said that as Australia’s largest, most advanced prawn fishery, environmental initiatives and world-class management has ensured that the NPF retains its status as one of only a few prawn fisheries around the world to be certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council - the independent global standard for best practice fishery sustainability.
“We are committed to working closely with government regulators and scientists to ensure the NPF is responsibly and sustainably managed, now and into the future” said Ms. Jarrett.
The NPF produces between 5000 and 8000 tonnes of prawns each year, providing Australians with MSC certified sustainably caught banana, tiger and endeavour prawns.
As one of the biggest prawns in the world, growing up to 30cm, tiger prawns are a popular choice with top hotels and restaurants.
Australian prawn fans can also enjoy MSC-certified tiger prawns at home. Easily identified by their impressive stripes, tiger prawns not only taste good, they also look good! Look for the MSC blue tick on labels at your local seafood supplier.
The Redleg Banana Prawn Sub-Fishery in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf (JBG) will also re-open for fishing on 1 August following a closure during the banana prawn season to ensure the fishery remains both profitable and sustainable.
Dedicated crews spend up to four months searching for prawns, closely monitoring their catch to protect the pristine tropical ecosystem. The NPF stretches across approximately 770,000 square kilometres of from Cape York in Queensland to Cape Londonderry in the Kimberley, and its major landing ports are Cairns, Darwin, and Karumba. The season is set to close on 30 November, unless in-season catch rate triggers prompt an early closure.
To discover more about lives of fishers in the NPF and how they are working to reduce the environmental impact of trawling, check out the Australian Wild Prawns website.