Prawn landings and their relationship with the extent of mangroves and shallow waters in western peninsular Malaysia
This study investigated changes in landings of all prawns, white prawns (mainly Penaeus merguiensis), mangrove extent, rainfall and the area of shallow water in western peninsular Malaysia. The most important state for both the landings of all prawns and white prawns was Perak where about 50% of all prawns and 35% of white prawns were landed. This is also the state with the largest, and most stable, extent of mangrove forest reserve (40 000 ha) and the largest area of shallow water (<5 m deep). Juvenile prawns from Perak may contribute to the landings of the nearby, adjacent states of Penang and Selangor, where the second highest landings for white prawns and total prawns, respectively, were found. The area of shallow water accounted for the greatest proportion of variation in landings of both all prawns and white prawns, and was the most significant variable fitted to multiple regressions of landings and coastal attributes (area of shallow water, mangrove area, length of coastline). Although there was a significant linear relationship between the landings of total prawns and mangrove area in both the 1980s and 1990s, this was not the case for the mangrove-dependent white prawns where a significant relationship was found only for the 1990s. Furthermore, landings of all prawns and white prawns in Selangor and Johor, where large losses of mangrove forest reserve have been recorded, appear to have been maintained or increased in the 1990s. The lack of a clear relationship between mangrove loss and prawn landings may be due to the migration of prawns from adjacent areas or that other attributes of mangroves, such as the length of mangrove-water interface, may be more important for the growth and survival of prawn populations than total area of mangroves.
Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
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