The Exmouth Gulf Prawn Managed Fishery uses low opening, otter prawn trawl systems within the sheltered waters of Exmouth Gulf to target Western King prawns (Penaeus latisulcatus), Brown Tiger prawns (Penaeus esculentus), Endeavour prawns (Metapenaeusspp.) and Banana prawns (Penaeus merguiensis).

Management of this fishery is based on input controls, including limited entry, seasonal and area openings and closures, moon closures and gear controls.

Management arrangements are designed to keep fishing effort at levels that maintain breeding stock levels (particularly Tiger prawns).

Opening and closing dates vary each year, depending on environmental conditions, moon phases and the results of fishery-independent pre-season surveys that provide a catch prediction.

The Department of Fisheries Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) monitors the activities of all boats during the season.

Fishing effort is primarily controlled through limiting the capacity of the fishery and the duration of the season.

Reduction in the fishery’s capacity by decreasing the maximum headrope allocation by 10 per cent to 394.8m (216 fathoms), prompted a decrease in the size of the fishing fleet. This reduction has allowed industry to maximise economic efficiency, whilst maintaining overall and stock sustainability

In recent seasons, management arrangements have seen fishing seasons of about 200 nights with a minimum of 28 non-fishing nights for moon closures during the period.

In the 2013 season, the fishery directly employed 18 skippers and other crew and employed an additional 23 support staff in the Exmouth Gulf area with extra staff employed in Fremantle for the seasonal refit of boats.

The fishery is one of the Exmouth area’s biggest regional employers and a major contributor to the local economy.

The Department of Fisheries is currently in the process of amending the fishery’s management plan with changes to gear arrangements.

The fishery, along with the Shark Bay Prawn Fishery is in the process of obtaining full Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.

Key Species Fished

Banana Prawns
Brown Tiger prawns
Endeavour prawns
Western King prawns
Back to Gascoyne Bioregion