Prawns


Latin names: Fenneropenaeus merguiensis, Penaeus monodon, Marsupenaeus japonicas


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Farmed

Region:
QLD, NSW

Key Facts

  • Prawns farmed in Australia are produced on land in tanks and ponds.
  • An outbreak of whitespot disease, possibly from raw imported prawns, has closed down some production in southeast QLD, and biosecurity measures are in place.
  • Wastewater is treated before being discharged. Australian prawn farm effluent is well regulated and has minimal impact on coastal ecosystems.
  • Research and development into prawn feed has resulted in significantly reduced dependence on wild caught fish.
  • Fish-free prawn feed is currently in use in Australia, with nutritional elements coming from marine microbes.

More information

  • QLD, NSW

Prawns farmed in Australia are produced on land in ponds and tanks, with the majority of farms located on the QLD coast adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. QLD produces over 90% of the total volume of prawns farmed in Australia.

An outbreak of whitespot disease, possibly from raw prawns imported into Australia, significantly reduced production of farmed prawns in southeast QLD. Ponds were de-stocked and fallowed under biosecurity measures in place over 2017-18. The disease does not pose any human health or food-safety concerns.

In general, prawn farms are small operations with good management and regulation of wastewater discharge. Studies show negligible impacts from prawn farm effluent on the surrounding environment. Many of the prawn farms are sited on areas that were previously sugar cane farms. Expansion of prawn farming is underway, particularly in the Northern Territory, where the largest prawn farm in Australia is being proposed. Management of waste water will be a significant issue to address.

As an omnivorous group of species, farmed prawns were previously dependent on the fishmeal and fish oil in fish feed produced from wild caught fish. Significant research and development in prawn feeds has reduced industry dependence on wild caught fish, to a point where the amount of wild-capture fish used by the Australian prawn farm sector to feed prawns is less than the weight of prawns produced. Feed is currently available and in use in Australia that is completely free of wild caught fish, and instead depends on nutrition derived from protein from marine microbes.