Certifier : 
MRAG Americas, Inc.
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
25 Jul 2011
Certificate expires : 
31 Aug 2026


Fisheries are composed of one or more parts, each of which is entitled to receive an MSC certificate. These parts or “units” are defined by their target stock(s), fishing gear type(s) and if relevant vessel type(s), and the fishing fleets or groups of vessels.

When the term “Unit of Certification” is used for fishing units that are in assessment, it refers to the “Unit of Assessment” or “Unit of potential certification”. Expand a status below to view the parts that form this fishery. To check the detailed scope, download the latest certificate or open the Assessments page to get the latest report. Find out more by visiting our page on Fisheries

Units of Certification & Certificate Information

  • Certified
    MSC UoC Number Species Gear Type Ocean Area Certificate Code
    UoC-0446 Western king prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) latisulcatus) Trawls - Bottom trawls 57 (Indian Ocean, Eastern) MSC-F-31257 (MRAG-F-0058)

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Catch by Species

Species Reported Catch Year Metric Tonnes
Western king prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) latisulcatus) 2022 1,373

Information is provided by an independent Conformity Assessment Body as live weight (the weight of species at the time of catch, before processing) and where a fishing season covers multiple years, the end year is given as the reported catch year. Additional information is available in the latest report, see the assessments page.

About this Fishery

The fleet in this fishery, on the Spencer Gulf of South Australia, comprises 39 demersal trawling vessels. It was certified in 2011, the first prawn fishery in Asia Pacific and the first king prawn fishery in the world to meet the MSC Fisheries Standard. 

King prawns are nocturnal, burrowing into the seabed during the day and emerging at night to feed. Adults aggregate, mature, mate and spawn in deep water between October and April, with the main spawning period between November and February. Females may spawn on multiple occasions during one season.

Fishing vessels use an otter trawl, rigged with a drop chain attached to the foot rope. This chain setup is to induce the prawns to 'jump' from off the sea bottom and into the net as it moves along. The configuration of the chains on the foot rope differs between vessels and is altered according to the sea bed the trawl is being pulled over.

A number of management practices contribute to the fishery’s sustainable status, including effort restrictions, closed fishing periods, closed areas and harvest strategies to regulate the total catch. Bycatch reduction is also being actively addressed, principally to protect Balmain Bugs.

Discover the story of the Spencer Gulf King Prawn Fishery:

Watch In The Blood on YouTube


Spencer Gulf king prawns image © MSC

Market Information

Around 2,000 tonnes are harvested annually (2006-2008). The prawns are sold in Australia and the US, with additional target markets in Singapore and the EU.