App helps track prawn project
FORMER Victoria Park resident Will Smithwick and Kevin Reid began prawning in the early 1980s, but a lot has changed since then.
The two recreational prawners have been instrumental in the Swan River Trust’s prawn restocking program, which has included the recent launch of Prawn Watch, an app to help recreational fishers add their catch information to data collected by scientists.
“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,” Fisheries Minister Ken Baston said.
“This app will help recreational fishers add their catch infor- mation to data collected by scientists to help unlock the mysteries of Perth’s river prawns.”
In June last year, WA scientists celebrated a world-first accomplishment in successfully culturing western school prawns, which was the first step in the restocking program.
Mr Smithwick and Mr Reid, who enjoy reminiscing on nights spent prawning in the past, said they had learned a lot about the river during the program.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said prawning on the Swan and Canning rivers was once a popular pastime, but there had been a a significant decline in prawn numbers since the 1950s.
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.