TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Flow and fisheries: River impacts on estuarine prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria

TitleFlow and fisheries: River impacts on estuarine prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsBurford, MA, Kenyon, R, Whittle, M, Curwen, G
Date Published12/2010
InstitutionFisheries Research and Development Corporation
ISBN Number978-1-921760-22-8
Keywords5: Foodwebs and biodiversity

The planned outcomes of this project were improved fisheries and resource management by identifying the effect of flow on estuarine fisheries.  Specifically our research has shown that freshwater flows to a Gulf of Carpentaria estuary can affect banana prawns (Penaeus merguiensis) in the estuary by:  1. resulting in emigration en masse to avoid low salinity water, 2. reducing food availability on the subtidal and intertidal intertidal mudflats in the creeks and river when flows are sustained for extended periods.  We determined and quantified the increased nutrient loads in the freshwater flow which is likely to ncrease food availability for banana prawns in the nearshore zone. Additionally, inundation of the saltflats is an important source of nutrients and carbon to the estuary and nearshore zone, in this nutrient-depauperate environment. A reduction in flooding, as a result of water diversion/regulation or climate change, is therefore likely to reduce the productivity of the estuary/nearshore system.