The Prawn Guide

The Prawn Guide

School Prawns

School prawns are a small, fast-growing, native species caught in bays and estuaries along the east coast of Australia, with the overhelming majority coming from NSW. They are entirely caught by small-scale fishermen and mostly sold to local markets. Sadly, consumers have recently preferred larger prawns so many of these wind up as bait. Definitely an under-appreciated prawn! Give them a go over Christmas.

cropped-PRAWN-metapenaeus

HOW IT'S CAUGHT INSHORE TRAWL, SMALL NETS Small, estuary trawlers, set pocket nets, haul seines and running nets are low-impact fishing gears that minimise bycatch and habitat damage.

WHERE IT'S FROM NSW School prawns are caught in lakes and estuaries such as the Hawkesbury, Hunter, Wallis Lake, Lake Illawarra, Tuggerah Lakes and Clarence River.

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

Eastern king prawns

Moreton Bay

Inshore Trawl

King prawn doesn’t just mean ‘big prawn’, there are actually two species of king prawn that are native to Australia and found nowhere else. Eastern king prawns are caught off the east coast of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, and in smaller quantities in some inshore fisheries. Inshore trawling and fixed nets have a lower rate of bycatch than offshore ocean trawling. Area restrictions offer reasonable protection to seabed habitats. Choose eastern king prawns from inshore fisheries like Moreton Bay and NSW lakes and estuaries.

cropped-PRAWNs-EasternKing2

HOW IT'S CAUGHT - INSHORE TRAWL, SMALL NETS Small trawlers, set pocket nets, and haul seines are low-impact fishing gears that minimise bycatch and habitat damage.

WHERE IT'S FROM - QLD Moreton Bay fisheries are well-managed with protected areas and gear restrictions.

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

Black tiger prawns

Blueyou and Naturland certified

Black tiger prawns are native to Australia, South East Asia, South Asia and East Africa. They are the main species farmed in Australia, while Vietnam is the largest global producer. Most farming in Vietnam occurs in intensive systems that may damage the environment or rely on irresponsibly-sourced feed, however in some areas farming is integrated with mangrove forests in an ecologically sound way. While virtually unavailable in Australia currently, in Europe certified black tiger prawns from integrated mangrove farming systems certified by Blueyou and Naturland are available.

cropped-PRAWNs-BlackTiger

HOW IT'S FARMED - ECOLOGICAL FARM Ecological farms are integrated with mangroves in a way that preserves ecosystem functionality.

WHERE IT'S FROM - VIETNAM Vietnam is the world's largest producer of black tiger prawns. The impacts of tiger prawn farming in Vietnam range from low to moderate.

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

Banana prawns

Northen Prawn Fishery

Banana prawns are found across Northern Australia from the Kimberly to Southern Queensland. Because of the way banana prawns school, bycatch tends to be lower than for other ocean trawled prawns. Banana prawns from the Northern Prawn Fishery represent a good choice and are easily identifiable because of their MSC certification.

cropped-PRAWNs-Banana

HOW IT'S CAUGHT - OCEAN TRAWL Offshore ocean trawling tends to have a high bycatch and can damage the sea bed if not managed.

WHERE IT'S FROM - NT, WA, QLD The relatively well-managed Northern Prawn Fishery stretches from the north coast of WA, across the Gulf of Carpentaria to QLD.

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

Black Tiger Prawns

Pacific Reef

Black tiger prawns are native to Australia, South East Asia, South Asia and East Africa. While rarely caught in the wild, they are the main species farmed in Australia. As long as farming is managed according to best practice and utilises responsibly sourced feed then these are a good option. Black tiger prawns farmed by Pacific Reef are the best choice for tiger prawns in Australia mostly because of their use of responsibly-sourced feed.

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HOW IT'S FARMED - POND FARMED Most pond farming in Australia does not have a major environmental impact if feed is responsibly sourced.

WHERE IT'S FROM - QLD Most Australian prawn farming occurs in Queensland, often close to the Great Barrier Reef, so environmental safeguards need to be in place

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

Eastern king prawns

NSW inshore

King prawn doesn’t just mean ‘big prawn’, there are actually two species of king prawn that are native to Australia and found nowhere else. Eastern king prawns are caught off the east coast of southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, and in smaller quantities in some inshore fisheries. Inshore trawling and fixed nets have a lower rate of bycatch than offshore ocean trawling. Area restrictions offer reasonable protection to seabed habitats. Choose eastern king prawns from inshore fisheries like Moreton Bay and NSW lakes and estuaries.

cropped-PRAWNs-WesternKing

HOW IT'S CAUGHT - INSHORE TRAWL, SMALL NETS Small estuary trawlers, set pocket nets, running nets and haul seines are low-impact fishing gears that minimise bycatch and habitat damage.

WHERE IT'S FROM - NSW Overall too many eastern king prawns are taken as juveniles in NSW. But seabed damage and bycatch are minimal in NSW inshore fisheries.

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

Western King Prawns

Spencer Gulf

King prawn doesn’t just mean ‘big prawn’, there are actually two species of king prawn that are native to Australia and found nowhere else. Western king prawns are caught off the coast of Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Spencer Gulf prawns are the best choice for king prawns. They are caught by ocean trawl, which has a higher bycatch rate than inshore trawling, however the fishers in the Spencer Gulf have taken impressive steps to minimise their impact.

cropped-PRAWNs-WesternKing

HOW IT'S CAUGHT - OCEAN TRAWL Offshore ocean trawling tends to have a high bycatch and can damage the sea bed if not managed.

WHERE IT'S FROM - SOUTH AUSTRALIA Prawn trawlers in the Spencer Gulf have earned credit from the Australian Marine Conservation Society for measures taken to reduce bycatch and habitat damage, and for their transparent approach.

Categories

Habitat damage
Bycatch and feed sustainability
Labour conditions and impact on communities

TAKE ACTION

We can only really know if our prawns are good, bad or ugly if they're labelled correctly. But right now, Australia's seafood labelling is weak. Click here to demand for more information about prawns sold in Australia.

TAKE ACTION

LEARN MORE

Our report Dodgy Prawns explains how some prawns come at a cost of human suffering and environment destruction, as well as sustainable alternatives. Click below to read the report.

READ THE REPORT