Biology and life cycles of prawns

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Primefact Number: 268    Edition: First edition    Released/reviewed: 01 Oct 2010

Commercial fishing for prawns in Australia is thought to have commenced in Sydney in the early 1800s and has over the intervening period developed from a local cottage industry to one that is equipped with the latest technology and that encompasses most of the coast of Australia.

In New South Wales (NSW), fishing for prawns is done in many estuaries and in ocean waters from the border with Queensland in the north to that with Victoria in the south.

Average landings in NSW over the five year period to 2008–09 were 1410 tonnes, worth in excess of $18 million.

In addition, in more recent times an aquaculture industry for prawns has developed in NSW which in 2008–09 produced 164 tonnes, worth $3.2 million.

Taking into account the value of boats, land (for aquaculture), gear and associated industries the humble prawn has a significant effect on this State’s economy.

This Primefact covers the following topics:

  • The fisheries
  • The basic prawn
  • Colour changes
  • Moulting
  • Food and feeding
  • Reproduction
  • Life cycles and age
  • Diseases and parasites
  • Species descriptions
  • Research
  • Management