Prawns are caught at various times all through the year across the tropical, subtropical and temperate waters of Australia.

Nearly all prawn fisheries catch multiple prawn species through the year but target one species at a time.

Catching wild Banana Prawns - A Raptis & Sons
Banana Prawns catch photo courtesy of A Raptis & Sons. All rights reserved.

Australian Prawn Fisheries Value

The prawn fishing industry is the second largest fishing sector in Australia.  The sector averages a 20,000 tonne per annum catch valued at $270 million but this fluctuates based on seasonal conditions. For example, in 2020-21, Australian prawn fishers caught 16,000 tonnes of prawns worth $232 million, of which prawns valued at $73.6 million were exported.  

Australian Prawn Fisheries in Numbers by State

JurisdictionTonnes (2020-21)Value (2020-21)No. vessels (*estimates)
NSW1744$24 million100*
VIC72$0.9 million6*
QLD4915$61 million261
SA2018$39 million44
WA2,325$32 million16*
Commonwealth4923$75 million52 (NPF)
[1] Australian fisheries & aquaculture (2020-2021) statistics (Preliminary data published 2022)

Where are prawns caught?

Australia’s arid interior meets a mangrove coastline around the North West Cape and the main coastline of Western Australia to create a marine rich environment for Western Australia’s second largest prawn fishery. Western King, Endeavour, Tiger and Banana Prawns can be found around Exmouth Bay.
www.sea-harvest.com.au →  
A network of lakes, marshes and lagoons along the coast around Lakes Entrance is the prawn breeding ground in Victoria. Eastern King prawns are caught in the lakes and further out to sea. www.siv.com.au →

Sheltered by Yorke Peninsula on its west, and the Fleurieu Peninsula on its east, the Gulf of St Vincent is a sheltered and shallow gulf home to Western king prawns.

The sparsely populated World Heritage listed area is home to Western Australia’s largest prawn fishery.  The 1500km of coastline is bordered by the limestone cliffs of Edel Land Peninsula and Dirk Hartog Island to the west, red sand hills of Peron Peninsula, and the tidal eastern coast. Western King, Endeavour, Tiger and Coral Prawns can be found in Shark Bay.

www.sharkbayprawns.com →

www.sea-harvest.com.au/fishing-operations →

The pristine waters of the Northern Prawn Fishery, Australia’s largest prawn fishery, are some of the most abundant and isolated in the world. The 6000kms of coastline harbours the most spectacular untouched wilderness and includes a diverse range of ecosystems, weather and wildlife. It’s these pristine waters that the succulent and wild-caught Banana, Tiger, Endeavour and Red Spot King prawns from the Northern Prawn Fishery call home. www.npfindustry.com.au →
Estuaries of the Clarence, Hawkesbury and Hunter Rivers on the NSW holiday coast breed most of NSW’ school prawns while further out to sea the larger species of Tiger and Eastern King prawn are found. www.nswpfa.com.au →
Prawns from Australia’s vast sunshine state come from the wild ocean off the coast and from sheltered inshore areas. Species found along the coast include Banana, Tiger, Endeavour, Eastern King prawns and a small number of school prawns. www.queenslandprawns.com →
Spencer Gulf: Facing the cool clean southern ocean the Spencer Gulf supports a large inverse estuary bordered by Eyre Peninsula on the West and York Peninsula to its east. The Western King prawn is a remnant tropical species, being harvested from the cooler temperate waters, producing a sweet firmed flesh prawn. West Coast: The West Coast prawn fishery is a a small three boat oceanic fishery, which faces the vast clean waters of the Great Australian Bight. Prawn production is supported by shallow bays along the coast that facilitate recruitment. The fishery is driven by climatic conditions. www.spencergulfkingprawns.com.au →

Lying between the tip of Cape York and Papua New Guinea, consisting of over 100 islands and many more reefs, the main fishing ground is to the east of the Warrior Reef complex with a focus around Yorke Islands. Tiger and Endeavour prawns are caught in these waters.

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