Sustainability is more than just ensuring prawns are fished or farmed so they remain abundant. It’s also about the impact on connected ecosystems and how much water, land and energy is used from water to waiter, from sea to final serve.
Ensuring Abundant Stocks
Australia’s fisheries are carefully managed to be sustainable. Scientists set the limits and the fishers catch within those — and quite often, less. Fishing effort is controlled, monitored and constantly cross checked by a number of authorities to ensure Australian fisheries are amongst the best managed in the world. Bycatch reduction devices, such as TED – or turtle exclusion devices have been mandatory for well over a decade, and since 2001, have reduced the incidence of accidental turtle capture by 99%.
All trawl fisheries in Australia comply with the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.The Spencer Gulf and Northern Prawn Fishery, one of Australia’s largest, have both achieved Marine Stewardship Council certification — the gold standard in 3rd party internationally recognised certification. In November 2015 the Shark Bay and Exmouth fisheries also achieved MSC certification.
Low in the food chain, highly desirable
Prawns feed on plankton, vegetable material and smaller simple organisms and they are so efficient at turning feed into body weight they can achieve between 1:1 and 3:1 feed to body weight ratios.
What does the science say about the health of our prawn stocks? If you want to dig deeper and examine the sustainability credentials fishery by fishery, then the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation’s wonderful resources are at your disposal.