Torres Strait Prawn Fishery

The Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Management Plan 2009 has recently made a number of amendments, which came into effect on 16 February 2017.  Details of the amendments can be found here. Torres Strait Prawn Fishery high res

About the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery

The Torres Strait Prawn Fishery (TSPF) is a multi-species prawn fishery (Endeavour, tiger and king prawns) that operates in the eastern part of the Torres Strait.

Brown Tiger prawn (Penaeus esculentus) and the Blue Endeavour prawn (Metapenaeus endeavouri) are the key target species. The Red Spot King prawn (Melicertus longistylus) is essentially a by-product species.

Prawn harvesting occurs at night, primarily using the otter trawl (quad) method which involves towing four trawl nets behind a boat. The TSPF has restrictions on the type of gear and boat that can be used during fishing.

A Total Allowable Effort cap (TAE) restricts the number of days that can be fished each year.

Fishing Season

From 2016, the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery fishing season has been from 1 February to 1 December (formally 1 March to 1 December). This is following a decision of the PZJA in 2015. 

Management objectives

The TSPF is managed through the

(the plan). The objectives of the plan are:

  • To ensure the optimum utilisation of the fishery resources within the TSPF is consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development and the exercise of the precautionary principle.
  • To promote economic efficiency in the utilisation of the fisheries resources within the TSPF.
  • To ensure cooperative, efficient and cost effective management of the fishery.
  • To manage the fishery’s interactions with the marine environment including the incidental capture of non-target species and impacts on demersal habitats.

Harvest Strategy for the TSPF was developed by PZJA Agencies and introduced in 2011. The Harvest Strategy provides a framework and control rules for management decisions within the fishery. The Harvest Strategy will ensure management is more transparent and logical and the fishery meets pre-defined ecological and economic goals. A copy of the harvest strategy can be found below.

Video: Sustainable Trawling in the Torres Strait Prawn fishery

See how prawns from the pristine Torres Strait in northern Australia get from the ocean onto your plate. See some devices used to reduce bycatch and prevent the capture of marine turtles. The Torres Strait Prawn Fishery is dedicated to using sustainable fishing practices to protect the environment. This video was an initiative of the Torres Strait Prawn Management Advisory Committee.


Torres Strait Fisheries Standard Operating Procedure Number 5

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Bycatch and Discard Workplan 2015

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery VMS guidelines 2016

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Harvest Strategy 2011

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Handbook and annual data summaries 


2015 TSPF TAE determination and Explanatory Statement for 2015 TSPF TAE limit

TSPF season dates determination 2015-2025

TSPF levy regulation 2016

Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Management Plan 2009

Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984

Fisheries Management Instruments

Fisheries Management Instruments outline the rules and regulations in fisheries in addition to the rules within the Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Management Plan 2009 and Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984. A list of current instruments is in the table below. The instruments can be found on the PZJA website.

Fisheries Management Notice No. Name


Torres Strait Fisheries – restriction on size of boats


Requirement for use of bycatch reduction devices
Fisheries Management Instrument No. Name


Torres Strait Prawn Fishery – Prohibition on taking Prawns and carrying equipment (exclusion zones)


Torres Strait Prawn Fishery – Prohibition on taking Prawns by Papua New Guinea boats


Torres Strait Prawn Fishery - prohibitions to fishing without a license  


Torres Strait Prawn Fishery - fishery closures (season dates)


Torres Strait Prawn Fishery Turtle Excluder Device


Torres Strait Fisheries Management Instrument number 17