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School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi) Photographs and Information

School prawns have very few or no hairy patches on their body and the telson has 4 pairs of conspicuous mobile spines.  Males bear a notch near the tip of the fifth walking leg.  Their colour is translucent with irregular brown or green spots (especially those living in estuaries) and the antennae are brown.

School prawns are endemic to waters off the east coast of Australia.  Postlarval to adolescent school prawns inhabit estuaries.  Adult school prawns can also be found in estuaries but are found predominantly in oceanic waters.

Juvenile school prawns prefer to live in seagrass areas within estuaries, although they are also present on bare substrates of fine to moderately coarse sand.  Adult school prawns are most abundant in turbid marine waters arising from estuarine discharge after heavy rainfall or river floods.

School prawns spawn between February and May in the sea off New South Wales in waters of about 40-55 metres depth.  School prawns live for about 12-18 months.   Research has shown that they may be migratory, moving along the coast in a northerly direction.  The longest recorded migrations by these prawns is 120km.   However most individuals stay within approximately 70km of the estuary from which they migrated.

School 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.

The possibility of farming school prawns has been investigated and school prawns have been cultured in northern New South Wales for a number of years.

cooked prawn, cooking prawns, cooked shrimp, shrimp, prawn

School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi)

Map showing where school prawns are found in Australian waters

Habitat:  Saltwater and estuarine

Did You Know? Metapenaeus macleayi is by far the most common species of school prawn in Australia.

How to Purchase the Freshest Prawns or Shrimp - Fresh cooked shrimp are actually cooked on board the vessel of capture the moment they are caught and then refrigerated for maximum freshness before being delivered to the markets which will be normally or hopefully within 24hrs of capture.

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 -


Nutritional Information
For every 100 grams raw product
for Prawn meat.

Kilojoules 399 (95 calories)
Cholesterol 121 mg
Sodium 185 g
Total fat (oil) 0.8 g
Saturated fat 36% of total fat
Monounsaturated fat 23% of total fat
Polyunsaturated fat 41% of total fat
Omega-3, EPA 39 mg
Omega-3, DHA 49 mg
Omega-6, AA 45 mg

School Prawns, Bait Prawns, Green Prawns, Shrimp

About for School Prawns:

school prawn

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

Cooking School Prawns:

School prawns are low-priced prawns. Cooked prawns are only slightly higher priced than uncooked prawns. School prawns have a distinct taste that is sweeter than that of most other prawns. They are very well suited to many Asian dishes. They are delicious eaten just on their own. They also make the best cocktails with a very light dressing or vinaigrette of a garlic, lemon or acid base to complement their sweetness. Deep fried, barbecued whole, or eaten shell-and-all with crisp-fried fresh basil leaves, school prawns provide for stunning presentation.  Delicious prawn recipes, how much seafood to buy, video showing how to peel a green prawn, recipe videos....


Commercial Fishing for School Prawns:

School 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. School and Eastern king prawns 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. Buyers and Sellers of Prawns and Shrimp are listed.


School Prawn (Metapehaeus macleayi) Websites, Links & Resources

Suppliers of School Prawns, Australian Government Fisheries Statistics, NSW Department of Primary Industries Fishing and Aquaculture, Common recreational saltwater fish and seafood, Sea-Ex Trade Seafood Commercial Fishery Directory suppliers and buyers of prawns and shrimp, other types of prawns information and photo links.






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