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The importance of mangroves to the prawn fisheries and juvenile prawns of western peninsular Malaysia: synthesis of regional information and a within estuary study

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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Law


MAINTAIN OR MODIFY- ALTERNATIVE VIEWS OF MANAGING CRITICAL FISHERIES HABITAT I I.R. Poiner, N.R. Loneragan and C.A. Conacher CSiRO Division of Fisheries. Marine Laboratories PO Box 120 Cleveland QL D 4 163 Summary Recently fisheries management in Australia has shifted to emphasise management of resources within the principles of ecologically sustainable development. This has resulted in management to sustain fish stocks, maximise economic effi- ciency when harvesting those stocks, and a trend towards granting property rights to the fishers. To achieve the goal of management to sustain fish stocks, a major focus of fisheries agencies has been to preserve the critical habi- tats upon which the long-term productivity of the fisheries depends. For penaeid prawns this has meant that seagrass (tiger prawns), and mangroves (banana prawns) have achieved spe- cial status to fishers, fisheries biologists, man- agers and legislators. Is this justified? Is this the appropriate management strategy to preserve critical fisheries habitat? We examine these questions using two case studies: cyclones, seagrasses and tiger prawns in the Gulf of Carpentaria and king prawns in the Peel-Harvey estuarine system in Western Australia. It is clear that a greater understanding of the key processes operating in the coastal zone is a critical requirement for fisheries management. It isnot enough tojust map, monitorandmaintain subsets of these systems based on coarse distribution and abundance studies of prawn populations. With increasing pressure on the coastal zone from competing interest groups, fisheries managers need a greater understanding of the factors which determine the carrying capacity of nursery habitats forjuvenile penaeid prawns, and the factors which limit the distribution of key fisheries habitats within coastal ecosystems. Fisheries scientists and managers need to develop the knowledge base and management procedures for the implementation of ecosyste

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