Prawns

(Various species)

Bamboo prawns, Black tiger prawns, Queen prawns, Red prawn, Shrimp, Garnale, LM prawns, Tiger prawns, Pacific White Shrimp, Pink Prawns, Tropical Shrimp, White Prawn, Shallow water prawns

1. What is it?

Prawns are abundant, bottom-dwelling crustaceans found in sandy, muddy or reefs associated areas often in large groups. They are a commercially important species all over the world. Despite their commercial importance, little information is available regarding their stock levels. In many areas, there are indications of prawns being overfished as fishing pressure is thought to be very high and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a widespread occurrence.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Farmed - Pond

Prawns are farmed in semi-closed ponds, cages and fenced off areas. There is some impact to the environment depending on the location of the farm, and disease is an issue leading to widespread outbreaks as hatchery reared larvae are less resilient to diseases and the transport of seed larvae and bloodstock further facilitates the spread of pathogens. In smaller farms the prawns obtain their own food but in larger scale farms prawns are often fed a commercially-formulated feed which isn’t regulated.

Shallow-water crustacean trawl

Prawns are fished using shallow-water crustacean trawl nets which are dragged along the sea floor at depths ranging from 5 m to 35 m (some fishing vessels will go down to 70 m). Prawn trawling can have a significant impact on the environment as it often damages or destroys key habitats (coral reefs in particular) for many threatened or endangered species. In addition, prawn trawling produces high levels of bycatch most of which is discarded.

Deep-water crustacean trawl

Prawns are fished using deep-water crustacean trawl nets which are dragged along the sea floor at depths ranging from 200 m to 1000 m. Prawn trawling can have a significant impact on the environment as it often damages or destroys key habitats (sponge beds, coral and biogenic reefs in particular) for many threatened or endangered species. In addition, prawn trawling produces high levels of bycatch most of which is discarded.

3. Where is it from?

Farmed - Ponds

Prawns are farmed throughout Asia, Latin America and region of Africa and then imported into South Africa. Management can be relatively effective through strict measures to reduce environmental impacts, decrease disease outbreaks and overall improve farming methods.

Wild Caught - crustacean trawl

Prawns are distributed throughout the world’s tropical and temperate oceans. In South Africa prawns are largely imported from a number of different countries throughout Asia, Europe, Eastern Africa and South America. Management is generally specific to the country and ranges from partly effective to poor. A major challenge within the industry is addressing the significant damage to the environment, large quantities of bycatch and the subsequent discard of these bycatch species. Some of countries have introduced quotas such as Total Allowable Effort (TAE) limit, closed/open season, no take areas and minimum size limits. However, this industry remains largely unregulated and illegal and unreported fishing of prawns is a major issue.

Species of prawns imported:

Farmed - Ponds

Pacific whiteleg prawn – Litopenaeus vannamei (ASIA & SOUTH AMERICA)

Giant Tiger Prawn – Penaeus monodon (ASIA & SOUTH EAST AFRICA)

Wild Caught - crustacean trawl

Giant Tiger Prawn – Penaeus monodon (ASIA & SOUTH EAST AFRICA)

Indian white prawn – Fennero penaeus indicus (SOUTH EAST AFRICA)

Northern prawn – Pandalus borealis (EUROPE & CANADA)

Pink prawns – Haliporoides triarthrus (MOZAMBIQUE)

Red prawns – Aristaeomorpha foliacea (MOZAMBIQUE)

Speckled prawns – Metapenaeus monoceros (SOUTH EAST AFRICA)

Langoustines –Metanephrops mozambicus (MOZAMBIQUE)