Prawn Watch was a project that engaged the Perth community in monitoring prawns in the Swan Canning Riverpark. It encouraged the sustainable management of the estuary and the fishery through data collection, information sharing and awareness raising and recently received a commendation for the Environment Award category at the 2017 WA Seafood Industry Awards.
Over the course of the 4-year project, 4.5 million juvenile school prawns were released into the Swan and Canning Rivers.
The project also investigated the factors that are limiting the natural recruitment of the Western School Prawn and engaged the community to monitor the recreational fishery. It was funded under the current Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund (RFIF) supported by Recfishwest to help restore the highly valued and popular recreational activity of prawning for Perth families.
This pilot project is now at an end and a final report on the project to the Recreation Fisheries Initiative Fund (RFIF) has recently been released.
The information that the community have provided through Prawn Watch has complemented the Murdoch University-led monitoring and research of prawn populations. Through this monitoring, Prawn Watch was able to provide quality information on prawn populations and influence management (see section 6 of the RFIF report).
The department will continue to work with Murdoch University in 2017/18 to monitor the prawn populations in the Swan-Canning Estuary.
University based research projects linked to Prawn Watch are wrapping up their findings and we will post more reports as they become available.