If you plan on tucking in to a tasty seafood cocktail this Christmas, you’ll be pleased to hear this. Our Aussie prawns from northern Australia have officially been recognised as a sustainable source of seafood – great news for World Fisheries Day.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – a globally renowned body that certifies sustainable fisheries – has given our prawns from the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) the sustainable tick of approval after a successful one year audit.
The MSC applies world best practice guidelines to help ensure an ongoing supply of seafood. This certification guarantees you’re buying sustainable seafood from a world-class fishery.
And it’s just as well our stocks are plentiful – we Aussies peel our way through about 4,000 tonnes of prawns each Christmas alone.
The NPF is Australia’s largest and most valuable prawn fishery, extending from Cape Londonderry in Western Australia to Cape York in Queensland.
For almost 50 years, our marine scientists have worked with managers and fishers at the NPF to help the industry become ecologically and economically sustainable.
Our research began back in 1963 with a two-year survey of prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Since then we’ve built a deep understanding of the prawn ecosystem and the business of fishing.
By studying things such as the mud types preferred by different prawn species, the distance juvenile prawns venture up river and the influence of summer rainfall on food supplies, we’ve been able to assess prawn stocks, fishery economics and ecosystem health.
Now we can have our prawns and eat them too.
This work has also helped the fishery reduce its environmental footprint by reducing the area trawled using hatches in trawl nets that let larger animals escape capture, and training crew members to monitor threatened, endangered and protected species.
Our statisticians have even applied mathematical wizardry to develop ways of testing management options that maximise profitability.
All of these efforts have helped the fishery catch larger, more valuable prawns while causing minimal harm to the environment. And for us, this means healthier prawns on our plates.
Speaking of which, why not celebrate with a perfect prawn salad.