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Crews haul in almost double the amount of banana prawns compared to last year

Lydia Burton and Renee Cluff, Friday June 16, 2017 - 11:36 EST
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The northern prawn fishery is celebrating a return to good banana prawn catches. - ABC

After a dismal catch last year, the northern prawn fishery's banana prawn season has bounced back, with crews hauling in almost double what they did last year.

Following good rain across northern Australia during the summer, crews were optimistic heading out to the fishery which extends from Cape York in Queensland to the Kimberley in Western Australia.

WA Seafood Exporters Fleet Manager, John Palmer said it was good to see .

"Even though the catches [the prawns] were a bit small because the rain was a little bit late, it was a good season as the prices have been good and the catches have been good," he said.

"Over the 52 boats [which make up the northern prawn fishery] about 5,000 tonne maybe a little bit more [was caught], so probably around the 100 tonne average per boat."

Skipper of the FV Gnarloo, Brad Allen said he was pleased his crew hauled in 115 tonnes.

"The best I have heard is about 150 tonne so that is a pretty good season," he said.

"Last banana prawn season we had a bit over 70 tonne, so a big improvement and the prices this year are a lot stronger, so it has been a very good season all round."

Mr Palmer said prices were close to 15 per cent better this year compared to last.

"Probably a dollar or two better at our wholesale end than last year so the ducks are lining up for us for a change, world oil prices are down, prawn prices are up a little bit and the catches are good," he said.

As the banana prawn season started on April 1,, crews in Queensland were forced to leave early with Cyclone Debbie looming off the coastline.

"We left in extreme weather conditions but we had to get out of Cairns and move further north away from Cyclone Debbie before it hit the coast," he said.

"It was pretty rough nearly for the last two months actually it hasn't been a very calm voyage at all.

"Especially the last two weeks it has been up to 30 to 35 knots we have been working in, pretty hectic conditions."


© ABC 2017

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