The effects of rainfall on the distribution and abundance of Metapenaeus macleayi in the Hunter River region (Australia) were examined as part of a study of the prawn fishery and biology in this region. A marked increase in the freshwater flow into the estuary of the Hunter River enhances the seasonal seaward movement of prawns and produces an initial increase in the abundance of adults in the adjacent oceanic waters; it is suggested that the disturbance to the estuarine sediments and to the prawns' normal burrowing and respiratory activity, as a result of the increased river flow, is responsible for this pronounced emigration. This initial increase in adult abundance enhances the prawns' reproductive potential, and the heavy rainfall indirectly assists the recruitment of young to the cotuary and their growth and survival, and thereby increases prawn abundance in the following year also. Prolonged dry weather adversely affects the prawns, and usually results in a smaller population. The annual fluctuations and absence of a downward trend in the catch statistics indicate that this stock has not been overfished.
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Communicated by G. F. Humphrey, Sydney
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Ruello, N.V. The influence of rainfall on the distribution and abundance of the school prawn Metapenaeus macleayi in the Hunter River region (Australia). Mar. Biol. 23, 221–228 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00389488
- Small Population
- Heavy Rainfall
- River Flow
- Downward Trend
- Initial Increase