Northern Prawn Fishery

Northern Prawn Fishery
Skull Island Prawns Northern Australian Waters

Northern Prawn Fishery

Our vessels operate in the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF). The NPF is often referred to as Australia’s last ‘wild frontier’, across Australia’s top end.  The fishery extends from the low water mark to the outer edge of the Australian fishing zone.  Its eastern extremity lies at Cape York in Queensland and stretches west to Cape Londonderry in Western Australia.

52 vessels are licensed to operate in the MSC certified NPF, which covers approximately 880,000 km2.  Less than 12% of this area is fished.

Tiger, Banana and Endeavour Prawns

We catch three species of prawn in this fishery.

Our premium tiger prawns grow up to 30cm and are some of the biggest prawns in the world. Sought after by world class chefs, our premium branded Skull Island Tiger Prawns are sold all around the world and are the hero on the plate.

Our banana prawns bring us the highest quantity during the season and include our Karumba Banana Prawn range. Our endeavour prawns are a popular choice in countries such as Hong Kong as a versatile prawn used in a wide range of dishes.

All of our wild caught prawns are certified as sustainable and well managed by the MSC. In addition, they're also certified as carbon neutral under the Australian Government Carbon Neutral Program.

Northern Prawn Fishery Fisheries Mangement Austral Fisheries

Fisheries Management

The Northern Prawn Fishery was certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as a sustainable and well managed fishery in November 2012. This fishery became the first tropical prawn fishery to be certified as sustainable in the world.

MSC certified sustainable Banana Prawns and Tiger Prawns can be found from this fishery in many local Australian seafood cabinets, including the major supermarkets, and reputable seafood retailers and distributors.

Austral Fisheries are members of the Northern Prawn Fishery Management Advisory Committee (NORMAC), which is an advisory body to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA).  NORMAC is dedicated to maintaining the sustainability of the Northern Prawn Fishery and has a strong history in the area of responsible and pro-active action in fisheries management.

Austral Fisheries support environmental fishing practices and and such have fully supported the compulsory introduction of Bycatch Reduction Devices that apply to all prawn trawlers operating in the Northern Prawn Fishery. The most significant of these are Turtle Excluder Devices.  A grid is attached to the net which deflects turtles to an escape opening. This prevents them from being caught in the end of the net. Other larger marine species such as stingrays and sharks, also benefit from the introduction of these devices.

Northern Prawn Fleet

Our Northern Prawn Fleet is comprised of 10 prawn trawlers which generally accommodate between 5 and 7 crew.  These prawn trawlers range between 22m and 25m in length and include the following vessels:

  • Comac Endeavour
  • Comac Enterprise
  • Gnaraloo
  • KFV Heron
  • KFV Shearwater
  • Kodiac T
  • Austral Hunter
  • Newfish II
  • Ocean Thief
  • Sea Thief

Processing 

Austral Fisheries’ fleet of prawn trawlers are fully refrigerated for at-sea processing, which results in a premium quality, sustainable Australian prawn product. The combination of technologically advanced equipment and skilled crews allow us to grade, pack and freeze the product on board within a short period of time.


Austral Fisheries have skilled crews catching, grading, packing and processing the catch at sea under strict supervision to meet world seafood quality standards.

 

Products and Pack Styles

Austral Fisheries offer several pack styles for our MSC certified Banana and Tiger Prawns.  All seek to reinforce the value of snap freezing a premium wild caught prawn. Our premium Skull Island Tiger Prawns are hand selected at sea, packed & frozen semi-IQF into 3kg cartons. 3 x 3kg cartons are loaded into a master carton (9kg).  Other pack styles include:

Banana Prawn

Penaeus merguiensis

1st Apr – 31st May

U/10, U/15, U/20, U/25

Red Banana Prawn

Penaeus indicus

1st Apr – 31st May

U/10, U/15, U/20, U/25

Tiger Prawn

Penaeus esculentus, Penaeus semisulcatus

1st Aug – 30th Nov

U/10, U/15, U/20, U/25

Endeavour Prawn

Metapenaeus endeavouri

1st Aug – 30th Nov

U/10, U/15, U/20, U/25

Skull Island Tiger Prawn

Penaeus esculentus, Penaeus semisulcatus

1st Aug – 30th Nov

U/6, 6/8, 9/12

Fishing Operation

Northern Prawn Fishery

 

The Northern Prawn Fishery is often referred to as Australia’s last ‘wild frontier’, and is situated across Australia’s top end. The fishery extends from the low water mark to the outer edge of the Australian fishing zone. Its eastern extremity lies at Cape York in Queensland and stretches west to Cape Londonderry in Western Australia. The fishery covers approximately 880,000 km2, with less than 12% of that area being fished.

Austral operates 10 of the 52 licenced vessels in this fishery, which has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council as sustainable and well managed.

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