Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said Prawn Watch was an exciting citizen science project linked to the Western School Prawn restocking program which was focused on restocking the Swan and Canning rivers with prawns.
“The project has already released more than 635,000 juvenile Western School Prawns into these rivers and will investigate the distribution of prawns and the factors limiting the prawn stock,” Mr Baston said.
“This app will help recreational fishers add their catch information to data collected by scientists to help unlock the mysteries of Perth’s river prawns.”
The restocking program is a collaboration between the Swan River Trust, Challenger Institute of Technology and Murdoch University and is managed by the WA Fish Foundation. This project was made possible by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund and supported by Recfishwest, the Department of Fisheries and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said prawning on the Swan and Canning rivers was once a popular pastime but a significant fall in prawn numbers since the 1950s had seen the recreational activity decline.
“As they are a vital part of the Swan and Canning rivers’ ecosystems, it’s important we understand the Western School Prawn’s role and the cause of their decline,” Mr Jacob said.
“The restocking project is focused on answering these questions and this app gives the community an opportunity to play a role in restoring prawning on Perth’s rivers.”
Mr Baston said Prawn Watch was an excellent example of the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund directly benefiting the recreational fishing community and aimed to help reverse the decline in prawn numbers through the direct investment of recreational fishing licence fees.
Since 2011, more than $6 million from the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund has been committed to large and small initiatives throughout Western Australia.