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Commercial Fishing for School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi)

Commercial Fishing for School Prawns:

Map showing where school prawns are found in Australian watersSchool prawns are harvested commercially on grounds in offshore waters by demersal otter trawling, carried out predominantly during the day.  They are also caught by various other methods, including beam trawling, set pocket netting, hauling and seining or with running nets or dingo rigs.

Distribution - School and Eastern king prawns are endemic to estuarine and coastal waters along the east coast of Australia. Juvenile prawns of both species inhabit estuaries, generally near seagrass beds. Adults are predominantly found in ocean waters, but may occur in estuaries.

Size - School prawns can grow to a total length of 13 - 16cm and king prawns to a total length of 30 cm.

Characteristics - About 90 % of the prawns taken by anglers are king prawns (Penaeus plebejus), with the remainder of the catch being school prawns. King prawns have a cream to yellow body with dark brown ridges, and possess a straight rostrum with one tooth on the lower surface. School prawns are translucent with irregular brown or green spots and brown antennae, and have a rostrum with a smooth lower surface.


Estuary General Fishery in NSW
The Estuary General Fishery is a diverse multi-species multi-method fishery that may operate in 76 of the NSW's estuarine systems. It is the most diverse commercial fishery in NSW and comprises approximately 600 fishing businesses authorised to utilise 17 types of fishing gear. This fishery is a significant contributor to regional and state economies providing high quality seafood and bait to the community.

The Fishery includes all forms of commercial estuarine fishing (other than estuary prawn trawling which comprises the Estuary Prawn Trawl Fishery) in addition to the gathering of pipis and beachworms from ocean beaches. The most frequently used fishing methods are mesh and haul netting. Other methods used include trapping, hand-lining and hand-gathering.

On average, the 10 species that make up over 80% of landings by weight are sea mullet (Mugil cephalus) 40%, luderick (Girella tricuspidata) 8%, yellowfin bream (Acanthopagrus australis) 8%, school prawn (Metapenaeus macleayi) 5%, blue swimmer crab (Portunus pelagicus) 4%, dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) 4%, sand whiting (Sillago ciliata) 3%, pipi (Donax deltoides) 3%, mud crab (Scylla serrata) 3% and silver biddy (Gerres subfasciatus) 2%

Scientific Name Metapehaeus macleayi
Location Mid QLD south to SE Victoria
Season November to May
Size 25mm carapace length
Australian Species Code 00 701321
Taste, Texture -

School Prawns, Bait Prawns, Green Prawns, Shrimp

Sea-Ex Trade Seafood Directory - Companies and their contact details who are:

Exporters of School Prawn
Importers of School Prawn
Processors of School Prawn
Wholesalers of School Prawn
Seafood Agents for School Prawn


See Also: Brown Shrimp | Brown Tiger Shrimp | Cat Tiger Shrimp | Eastern King Prawn | Endeavour Prawn | Freshwater Shrimp | Macrobrachium Shrimp | Black Tiger Prawn | Penaeus Monodon | Pink Shrimp | Red Argentine Shrimp | Deep Sea Red Shrimp | Flower Shrimp | Penaeus Indicus | Vannamei Shrimp | Giant Freshwater Prawn | King Prawn | Prawns | School Prawns | Red Spot King Prawn |


About for School Prawns:

school prawn.jpg (3446 bytes)

School Prawns are Wild caught

Recovery Rate
Meat (not deveined): 46% of total weight



Sizes of Prawns
Prawns are graded according to the number of prawns per pound (445 grams) or per Kilo (1000gms)

U/10 = under 10 prawns per pound (extra large) (between 16 to 20 prawns to the Kilo)

10/20 = 10 to 20 prawns per pound (medium) (between 22 to 42 prawns to the kilo)

20/30 = 20 to30 prawns per pound (small to medium) (between 44 to 67 prawns to the kilo)

300/500 = 300 to 500 prawns per pound (extra small - shrimps) (between 675 to 1124 prawns to the kilo)

S & B = Soft and broken prawns - these are export 2nds due to slight damage or soft shell due to prawn malting just prior to capture.

Tips:- when comparing prices always compare by asking the count per pound - the lower the count the larger the size. The larger the size the higher the price.

Australian Ocean King Prawn Company
Suppliers of whole, raw and cooked, wild caught OCEAN KING PRAWNS to both the domestic and international markets. Trawler owners and operators. Hervey Bay Cold Stores.


Ocean Exports Pty Ltd
Exporters of all seafood caught in Queensland waters. Frozen: scallops, king prawns, coral trout, spanner crabs. Live: spanner crabs, mud crabs. Chilled: whiting, mackerel, reef fish.



See Also
School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi) Photographs and Information
Cooking School Prawns | Shrimp Prawn Recipes
Commercial Fishing for School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi)
School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi) Websites, Links & Resources


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