“Like most prawn fisheries in Australia, catches can be highly variable from year to year depending on environmental conditions,” Mr D’Silva said.
“Rainfall in the Hawkesbury River catchment has been high over the last few years, and prawn catches are often positively correlated with high levels of rainfall.”
Gary Howard, a long time prawn fisher said school prawn catches have been very good for the past two seasons in the river.
“Approximately 100 tonnes of school prawns were landed during 2011/12 and many fishers experienced one of their best years on record for the 2012/13 season,” Mr Howard said.
“Based on an average price paid to fishers of A$12 per kilogram, the value of the catch is worth approximately A$1.2 million.”
Around 40 fishers operated during the season, which is in peak production from September to May every year.
Prawn fishing in the Hawkesbury has a long history dating back over 100 years.
The fishery has gone through a comprehensive environmental assessment under both State and Commonwealth law.
“School prawns are popular with NSW seafood consumers and the public can be confident they are making a sustainable seafood choice,” Mr D’Silva said.
“School prawns are also a highly sought after recreational bait species.
“That makes the success of the last few seasons so pleasing, and hopefully consumers will support the State’s hard working prawn fishers by choosing locally produced, fresh and healthy prawns.”
Following support from the industry, the Fisheries Research Development Corporation and Australia Seafood Cooperative Research Centre have funded a project to develop a national prawn marketing and promotion strategy that aims to benefit Australian prawn fishers and farmers alike.
“This initiative is welcomed as the local industry has had to compete with imported product and rising operating costs that have impacted our profitability,” Mr Howard said.