Prawn larvae and assessment of prawn resource

M.J. George


The prawn fishery along the coasts of India especially on the west coast has expanded rapidly within the past decade and a half and now contributes to the most valuable seafood export industry on the country. The total marine landings of penaeid prawns rose from an estimated 25 thousand tonnes in 1958 to nearly 85 thousand tonnes in 1970, with random fluctuations over the years. Fluctuations in availability of prawns are of considerable importance to the industry. If these fluctuations could be detected through changes in availability of their developmental stages such as the larvae and postlarvae occurring in the plankton, it may be possible to assess the resources comparatively and to predicted fishing success or failure. This would result in more efficient operation of the commercial industry. Study of the abundance of the planktonic larvae and postlarvae of the prawns would also be useful for delineating the spawning grounds and spawning seasons of the species concerned, which is necessary to understand the parameter of recruitment in assessing the stock. In the present contribution it is attempted to give a brief review of the investigations carried out on these lines stressing the significance of studies aimed at broadening our knowledge of the early life history of prawns in the context of assessment of prawn resources


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