Simulation Estimates of Annual Yield and Landed Value for Commercial Penaeid Prawns from a Tropical Seagrass Habitat, Northern Queensland, Australia

R. A. Watson, R. G. Coles, W. J. L. Long, (1993). Marine and Freshwater Research 44, 211-219.

Concern over the loss of seagrass habitat has prompted examination of the value of the production of commercial prawns from such habitat. Cairns Harbour in tropical northern Queensland has 876 ha of mixed seagrasses, dominated by Zostera capricorni and Halodule pinijolia, that support a multispecies commercial penaeid prawn fishery offshore. Densities of juvenile commercial prawns estimated from seagrass surveys were used to project estimates of annual yield and landed value, using a deterministic simulation model employing lunar-period time steps. Estimates of the potential total annual yield from Cairns Harbour seagrasses for the three major commercial prawn species (Penaeus esculentus, P. semisulcatus and Metapenaeus endeavouri) were 178 t (range 81-316 t) year-1 with a landed value of .2 million (range $0.6 million to $2.2 million) year-l.