South coast lakes get prawn stocking for Christmas

Four million juvenile eastern king prawns are to be stocked in southern NSW lakes from December 10-17.

The prawns will be placed in Wallagoot and Back Lake near Merimbula by University of NSW staff.

Three million juvenile prawns will be placed in Wallagoot Lake and one million in Back Lake, as the second part of a three year research project that is funded by the Recreational Fishing Trusts and carried out by researchers from the University of New South Wales.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Recreational Fisheries Manager, John Diplock, said the tiny stocked juvenile prawns weigh less than a gram and will be able to be harvested when they reach about 50mm in total length.

"Prawns stocked in the first stage of the project in late January 2007 (three million in Wallagoot and one million in Back Lake) have shown good survival and excellent growth rates," Mr Diplock said.

"These prawns have now reached up to 30g in size and recreational fishers have been reporting good catches. This bodes well for the success of the second stage of the project," he said.

"During the three year study, fish will be caught from stocked and non-stocked areas to estimate the proportion of the stocked prawns that are consumed by predators," he said.

"Research projects like this are important because over 18 million prawns are harvested annually by recreational fishers Australia wide, with over 65% of these being harvested in NSW.

The Eastern King Prawn accounts for around 83 percent of the recreational prawn catches in NSW," he said.

Funds raised from recreational fishing license fees are placed into two Trusts, one for saltwater and freshwater, with the money spent on projects such as these to enhance recreational fishing in NSW.

Find out more about the Recreational fishing licence fee.