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


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