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Hunter River Tagged Prawns Worth $5 Each

Ken A

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Hunter River prawners might find a bonus in the catch next week after the release of 500 tagged school prawns.

The Department of Primary Industries Fisheries officers are tagging the prawns as part of a three-year study to learn about their growth and mortality.

“This is part of a research project to effectively manage this valuable resource,” said DPI senior research scientist Dr Steven Montgomery.

“Staff are working with two local commercial fishers to catch, tag and release the school prawns during January.

“Each tag has the words ‘NSW DPI’ and a unique number on it.

“If you catch a prawn with a tag, pop it in the freezer rather than eat it and we’ll pay you $5 for your trouble.”

People who catch the tagged prawns can return them to the nearest Fisheries office, fishermen’s’ cooperative, or contact the staff at the Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre of Excellence on 1300 726 488.

They should include details on the date the prawn was caught or found, the place of capture and the name and address of the person who caught it.

Prawns are tagged by using a needle to pass a thin streamer of plastic through the tail.

“School prawns have been the subject of extensive research in the past, but we still know very little about how fast they grow and how long they live,” Dr Montgomery said.

“They are one of two species that make up the bulk of the commercial catch of prawns in NSW each year.

“They are found as juveniles in estuaries and as adults in ocean waters.”

Dr Montgomery said research so far suggested that the prawns lived for about 18 months, but the tagging program would help confirm this.

Prawns are the most valuable seafood resource managed solely by the NSW State Government, and are worth about $28 million a year at the point of first sale.

Media contact: Howard Spencer 02 6656 8800 or 0428 696 672

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