New management plan to ensure bright future for Spencer Gulf prawn fishery

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Prawn vessels from the Spencer Gulf fishery tied up at the Port Lincoln Cove Marina for the summer break. Image credit: flickr user: Bazz Hockaday

Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell has launched a new management plan for South Australia’s Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery which was developed in collaboration with industry to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.

Prawn vessels from the Spencer Gulf fishery tied up at the Port Lincoln Cove Marina for the summer break. Image credit: flickr user: Bazz Hockaday
Prawn vessels from the Spencer Gulf fishery tied up at the Port Lincoln Cove Marina for the summer break.
Image credit: flickr user: Bazz Hockaday

Minister Bignell, who launched the management plan last Thursday at Wallaroo, said the plan was important for the future of the fishery and provided a framework to allow the fishery to develop and grow during the next five years.

“South Australia has a global reputation for producing top quality seafood, and the Spencer Gulf prawn fishers have worked hard to maintain that reputation. The Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery – in July, 2011 – was the first prawn fishery in the Asia Pacific region to gain the prestigious Marine Stewardship Council certification – an independent environmental accreditation that rewards sustainable fishing practices,” Mr Bignell said in a media release.

“A rigorous review process has taken place to develop the new management plan, including an Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) risk assessment of the fishery, and comprehensive industry and community consultation. As a result, the new management plan provides a clear management framework and harvest strategy to maintain the health of the fishery, the ecosystem that supports it, and the economic performance of this valuable industry.”

The release of the plan for South Australia’s largest prawn fishery, which generates around $27 million for the state’s economy every year, was welcomed by Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermen’s Association Executive Officer Simon Clark.

“As an industry, we have been constructively involved in the development of the plan as part of existing co-management arrangements. We are confident that the changes to fishing operations that allow increased flexibility within our operations will protect the sustainability of prawn stocks, maintain our high environmental credentials, and ultimately result in the long-term success of the fishery,” Mr Clark said.