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Role of marine protected areas in the management of the Australian Northern Prawn Fishery

Carter, D., Hegerl, E. and Loneragan, N. (2003) Role of marine protected areas in the management of the Australian Northern Prawn Fishery. In: Aquatic Protected Areas What works best and how do we know? World Congress on Aquatic Protected Areas, 14 - 17 August 2002, Cairns, Australia pp. 545-547.

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Abstract

The Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) is Australia’s most valuable Commonwealth fishery, with an average annual catch of about 8,000 tonnes, worth between AUS$100 and $175 million and now taken by 104 modern trawlers. The fishery survived the early history of overcapitalization/overfishing common to most prawn trawl fisheries during the 1970s and early 1980s, when up to 302 trawlers were operating. Since the mid 1980s, fishing effort has been greatly reduced through industry-funded buybacks, spatial closures to protect small prawns and their nursery habitats and severe reductions in the fishing season from the entire year to just over 4½ months. Fishers, managers, researchers and environmentalists now share the responsibility for managing the NPF through their positions on the Northern Prawn Management Advisory Committee (NORMAC). A common vision has evolved of pursuing ecologically sustainable development through ecosystem-based management.

The fishery has been highly innovative in addressing bycatch issues and also has established a large system of “fishery closure areas” to protect juvenile prawn stocks, comprising about 8.7% of the NPF-managed zone. The NPF is working with government agencies and other stakeholders to develop a system of “no-take” marine protected areas in northern Australian waters that will both ensure biodiversity conservation and protect nursery and other habitats important to the sustainability of the prawn fishery. The research program to support ecologically sustainable development in the NPF includes research on assessing the status of the target stocks, bycatch and the impacts of trawling on animals in the soft sediments. The potential benefits to the fishery from marine protected areas are summarized.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Notes: In: JP Beumer, A Grant and DC Smith (eds) Aquatic Protected Areas What works best and how do we know? World Congress on Aquatic Protected Areas Cairns, Australia - August 2002. Australian Society for Fish Biology, pp 545-547.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/12835
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