Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery celebrates 50 years

FLEET: Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermen's Association executive officer Simon Clark stands among the prawn fishing boats at the Port Lincoln marina.
FLEET: Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermen's Association executive officer Simon Clark stands among the prawn fishing boats at the Port Lincoln marina.

The Spencer Gulf Prawn Fishery celebrated 50 years at the weekend and aims to continue its sustainable fishing practices into the future.

The fishery held a 50 year celebration at Adelaide Oval on November 2 with about 130 people attending including past and present fishermen, skippers, managers and scientists.

Honour awards were presented to Andy, William, Huey and Alan Haldane as well as Mick Olsen for their contributions to the fishery and a video featuring Roger Howlett and Bob Puglisi described the early days in the fishery.

The fishery began in 1967 and has grown to 39 licensed prawns fishers who are on the water 55 nights per year.

The fishery catches on average 1,900 tonnes per season, with over 2,000 tonnes being landed for the previous two years.

Spencer Gulf and West Coast Prawn Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Clark said the fishery’s biggest claim was its sustainability, which it had also received recognition for in 2011 by the Marine Stewardship Council.

“From the very start the first fishermen realised it was very important to ensure they were looking after the stock and the broader marine environment that supports the fishery,” he said.

“We were the first Australian trawl fishery to received Marine Stewardship Council certification.”

The fishery has mandated to maintain sustainable stock levels an minimise impacts on the ecosystem.

Mr Clark said another acheivement for the fishery was the early intervention of fishermen in building a relationship with government to develop co-management practices to ensure a long term sustainable stock.

He said as well as maintaining that sustainability the fishery would work on maintaining market share, continual promotion through the ‘Love Australian Prawns’ campaign and working for improved recognition of the Spencer Gulf providence.

As for the product itself, he said “there has always been a healthy demand for Spencer Gulf King Prawns as a high quality wild caught prawn.”