The Inpact of River Discharge on Distribution and Production of the School Prawn Metapenaeus macleayi (Haswell) (Crustacea : Penaeidae) in the Clarence River Region, Northern New South Wales
Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research
29(3) 311 - 323
Relationships between river discharge and production (catch) of the school prawn M. macleayi were examined as part of an ecological study of this species in the Clarence River region. Schooling behaviour of juvenile M. macleayi exhibited a lunar periodicity and mean daily abundance peaked 5 days after full moon. This was followed 7 days later by a peak in mean daily abundance of emigrating juvenile M. macleayi. Fluctuations in the magnitude of the oceanic component of the total annual catch were found to determine the difference between high and low production seasons. During the period examined there was a direct relationship between Clarence River discharge and the oceanic component of total production of M. macleayi, for various time periods. The absence of a persistent trend in total annual production and annual catch per unit effort of M. macleayi in the Clarence River region suggests that the stock has not been overfished.
Common peaks in mean monthly oceanic production of M. macleayi off the Clarence, Evans and Richmond Rivers suggest a common enhancement of the seasonal emigration of M. macleayi from the three estuaries in November due to increased river discharges. Successive troughs and peaks in mean monthly oceanic production suggest a northwards migration of M. macleayi from the Clarence and Evans Rivers and subsequent recruitment to the Evans and Richmond ocean fisheries respectively.
Results indicate the importance of river discharge to production of M. macleayi and suggest that modification of discharges by restriction of freshwater flow could adversely effect production.
Full text doi:10.1071/MF9780311
© CSIRO 1978