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Accuracy of at-sea commercial size grading of tiger prawns (Penaeus esculentus and P. semisulcatus) in the Australian northern prawn fishery

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O'Neill, M.F., Die, D.J., Taylor, B.R. and Faddy, M.J. (1999) Accuracy of at-sea commercial size grading of tiger prawns (Penaeus esculentus and P. semisulcatus) in the Australian northern prawn fishery. Fisheries Bulletin, 97 (2). pp. 396-401.


Publisher URL: http://fishbull.noaa.gov/


The size-frequency distribution of the commercial catch is often used as the basis of fisheries stock assessments (Paul and Morgan, 1987; Gulland and Rosenberg, 1992) because most dynamic processes of populations (growth, survival, recruitment) are reflected in changes in this distribution. The data are generally collected, often at great expense, by sampling the catch at landing sites and markets, or onboard fishing vessels.
Size-frequency distributions of prawns (Penaeus esculentus and P. semisulcatus) can also be obtained from fish processors, who grade landings by size. These data are easier and cheaper to obtain than research samples, but unfortunately they are also considered less accurate and lack spatial information. However, they have been used in stock assessment of prawns in Kuwait (Jones and van Zalinge, 1981) and Malaysia (Simpson and Kong, 1978).
It is often difficult to relate size data obtained from a processor to time and place of capture of the prawns, but this is not the case when the product is packed onboard, as in Australia's northern prawn fishery (NPF).
Trawler operators in the NPF have voluntarily recorded size composition since 1985, when provision for this was made in operators' daily logbooks (between 30% and 45% of the tiger prawn catch reported in the logbooks contain size information). These books are therefore the most comprehensive source of information on the spatial and temporal size distribution of the commercial catch of the NPF. Present assessments of the fishery are based on deterministic growth and deterministic seasonal recruitment patterns (Wang and Die, 1996) and do not use size-structured data. If available, these data would help relax the recruitment and improve current stock assessments of the NPF.
Before the size data recorded in the logbooks can be used, however, the accuracy of size grading at sea needs to the assessed. This paper examines the accuracy of grading tiger prawns, by using data collected from a private firm, A. Raptis and Sons, that operates a large modern processing factory that regularly assesses the onboard grading of product purchased from NPF trawler operators.
Although the work presented here relates specifically to the NPF, the practice of onboard size grading is widespread in other fisheries around the world. Therefore our methods have potential application to other fisheries.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA. NMFS Scientific Publications Office. Although the contents of the Fishery Bulletin have not been copyrighted and may be reprinted entirely, reference to source is appreciated. The National Marine Fisheries Service does not approve, recommend, or endorse any proprietary product or proprietary material mentioned in the Fishery Bulletin.
Keywords:Prawn grading; Australian northern prawn fishery.
Subjects:Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery resources
Aquaculture and Fisheries > Fisheries > Fishery management. Fishery policy
Live Archive:11 Jun 2004
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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