Red spot king prawn stock assessment

Assessment charts

Chart of Australian east coast stock assessment biomass estimates and key management actions for redspot king prawns.
© Queensland Government
Chart of estimated retained catch for Queensland east coast redspot king prawn from 1958 to 2021.
© Queensland Government

Why did we assess the red spot king prawn stock?

In 2023, Fisheries Queensland completed the first stock assessment of the east coast red spot king prawn stock.

The 2023 red spot king prawn assessment used a delay-difference biomass model based on previous stock assessments. The assessment used the most current biological, survey and commercial catch data to estimate the:

  • biomass of the biological stock
  • fishing pressure on the biological stock.

Twenty-four scenarios were run, covering a range of modelling assumptions and sensitivity tests. The models had varying success, with 9 achieving convergence. These 9 scenarios resulted in a wide range of final biomass estimates, and some non-converged scenarios had better model fit. On this basis the stock level is reported as undefined. Full results for all 24 scenarios are presented in the report.

Stock assessment project team

The project team had a wide range of skill sets and included:

  • managers, scientists, monitoring and data specialists from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • 2 industry representatives.

The team operated under a terms of reference (PDF, 207.9KB) to ensure a transparent and evidence-based approach.

We thank the project team for contributing their time and knowledge, and engaging constructively over the course of a 17-month project.

We acknowledge the significant time commitment and deep operational and technical expertise of our industry representatives. The project has benefited greatly from their input. Future assessments should continue to engage with industry members to further enhance assessments and build collaboration between industry and government.

Next steps for fishery management

Under the Queensland harvest strategy policy (PDF, 1.46MB) and Trawl fishery harvest strategies 2021–2026, management strategies are applied to keep stocks above the limit reference point (20% biomass) and set a target reference point to manage stocks toward.

The trawl fishery working group:

  • provides advice on implementing the fishery harvest strategy
  • considers what management changes may be needed to respond to the stock assessment
  • may suggest future research or monitoring activities to improve the confidence of the stock assessment.

The working group includes representatives from harvest, post-harvest and conservation sectors.

More information

Read the Stock assessment of Queensland east coast red spot king prawn (Melicertus longistylus) Australia report—with data to December 2021.