Prawn restocking produces impressive results

Thursday, 20 November, 2008 - A prawn restocking program in southern NSW lakes is proving to be a great success with researchers excited about the progress made over the past eighteen months, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald announced today.

The project, which saw four million juvenile eastern king prawns stocked in the Wallagoot and Back Lakes near Merimbula has been highly successful.
“Not only is there the benefit of establishing a recreational prawn fishery in the far south coast region, but there are tremendous outcomes already emerging from this research,” Minister Macdonald said.

“It is generating a lot of excitement among the scientific research community and also recreational fishers who have been reporting good catches as a result.”
The restocking program is part of a three year collaborative project between the University of New South Wales and the NSW Department of Primary Industries, funded by the Recreational Fishing Trusts and the Australian Research Council.

Project leader Dr Matt Taylor of UNSW said since the tiny larval prawns, each weighing about 5 milligrams, were stocked during the first stage in early 2007 there had been significant growth with the largest specimen recorded weighing 54 g and measuring 20 cm in length. The average size is approximately 30-40 g.

“In addition to tracking their growth and survival rates, for the first time we will be tagging some prawns with acoustic pingers, which will be a significant achievement,” Dr Taylor said.

“This is exciting because it will allow us to more accurately determine what it is the prawns are doing, how much they are moving and why.

“That information helps us understand the bio energetic requirements of the prawn and the potential effects of the prawn stocking.”

The eastern king prawn accounts for around 83 per cent of recreational prawn catches in NSW.

Another stocking of 3 million post larval eastern king prawns at the Wallagoot Lake will occur early next month.

Fishing for prawns stocked in the Wallagoot and Back Lakes is strictly for recreational fishers only.

Back Lake is a Recreational Fishing Haven and all commercial netting activities are banned in Wallagoot Lake.

Funds raised from the recreational fishing fee are placed into saltwater and freshwater Recreational Fishing Trusts and can only be spent on projects to improve recreational fishing.



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