The four prawn fisheries that operate in the North Coast Bioregion include the Onslow Prawn Managed Fishery (OPMF), the Nickol Bay Prawn Managed Fishery (NBPMF), the Broome Prawn Managed Fishery (BPMF) and the Kimberley Prawn Managed Fishery (KPMF).
These trawl fisheries extend from the north eastern boundary of the Exmouth Gulf Prawn Fishery to Cape Londonderry – the northernmost point of mainland Western Australia.
The OPMF and NBPMF operate along the western part of the North-West Shelf, which is a centre for WA’s offshore oil and gas industry. The OPMF targets western king prawns (Penaeus latisulcatus), brown tiger prawns (Penaeus esculentus) and endeavour prawns (Metapenaeus spp.) whereas the NBPMF primarily targets banana prawns (Penaeus merguiensis).
The BPMF operates off Broome and targets western king prawns (Penaeus latisulcatus) and coral prawns (a combined category of small penaeid species).
The KPMF operates off the north of the state between Koolan Island and Cape Londonderry. It predominantly targets banana prawns (Penaeus merguiensis) but also catches tiger prawns (Penaeus esculentus), endeavour prawns (Metapenaeus endeavouri) and western king prawns (Penaeus latisulcatus).
Management of all the north coast prawn fisheries is based on input controls including limited entry, seasonal and area closures, and gear controls including bycatch reduction devices. Fish escape devices are mandatory in all trawl nets. The Department of Fisheries Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) monitors the activities of all boats.
These fisheries currently generate up to 60 jobs, including skippers and other crew with additional workers involved in local processing.
Key Species Fished