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The importance of mangroves to prawn fisheries, particularly banana prawns (Udang Putih)

Loneragan, N., Hill, B. and Haywood, M. (2003) The importance of mangroves to prawn fisheries, particularly banana prawns (Udang Putih). Final Report to ACIAR for project FIS/92/18


The main purpose of this project was to study the effects of mangrove removal on the productivity of estuaries in Malaysia, and in particular the consequences for prawn fisheries.

Policy-makers in Malaysia and elsewhere long regarded mangroves as unproductive, and extensive areas were therefore cleared for agriculture, aquaculture, industry or residential purposes. However, mangroves and seagrasses are important as nursery habitats for the young of many fish and invertebrates, and prawns in particular are dependent on their nursery areas. Catches of many prawn species in Malaysia and of the banana prawn in Australia are known to be larger in areas with greater mangrove growth.

There was a need to investigate the commercial catch statistics for prawns in Malaysia and to examine the relationship between prawn catches and the extent of mangroves. Some of the prawn species caught in Malaysia did not depend on mangroves and it was not known whether the size of the prawn catch was a good representation of prawn numbers in a region.

The project topic was important because prawn fisheries are among the most valuable fisheries in Australia and Southeast Asia. On the west coast of peninsular Malaysia they account for 40% of the value (although only 5% of the biomass) of the total marine catch.

Item Type: Report
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research
Publisher: Final Report to ACIAR for project FIS/92/18
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