Trawling for prawns in the Swan and Canning rivers was once a popular pastime for Perth families until stocks started nosediving about a decade ago.
Fisheries Minister Norman Moore announced a $330,000 project yesterday to restock Perth’s rivers with millions of western school prawns.
“Collection of prawn broodstock from the Swan River will occur this month and restocking of juvenile prawns will be undertaken during the summer,” Mr Moore said.
He said fishing for prawns was an intrinsic part of WA’s lifestyle and hoped stocks would be replenished by next summer.
Recfishwest, the Swan River Trust, Challenger Institute of Technology and the Department of Fisheries would work on the restocking project.
Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said there had not been good catches of prawns in the river for the past decade.
“Prawning in the Swan and Canning Rivers is seen as a thing of the past; this project will reinvigorate the popular family outing,” Dr Rowland said.
He said the project would also fund research into why stocks plunged and would give authorities the answers to arrest the decline.
Fisheries chief executive Stuart Smith said the project would offer the perfect opportunity to “kick-start” prawn populations amid evidence their stocks had started to recover.
“Last summer the catches were up for the first time in some years and certainly anecdotal evidence confirmed that so it appears that the environment has actually improved in rivers,” Mr Smith said.
“So we think the conditions are probably now better for re-establishing prawns than they have been in past years.”
Mr Moore also unveiled a new $2.9 million Fisheries complex in South Perth, to house the department’s Biosecurity Compliance Unit and the Rock Lobster Quota Management Unit.