California Fisheries Atlas - Ridgeback Prawns

Updated June 2008

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ridgeback prawns

Pacific ridgeback prawn, Sicyonia ingentis

Life history (biology, habitat, range)

Range from Monterey Bay to Cedros Island, Baja Cal; concentrated in the Ventura-Santa Barbara Channel area, Santa Monica bay, and off Oceanside

Depths ranging from less than 145 feet to 525 feet; occurs on substrates of sand, shell, and green mud

Maximum age of 5 year

Females reach a maximum carapace length of 1.8 inches; males 1.5 inches

Free spawners – as opposed to other shrimp which carry eggs; both sexes typically spawn during 1st and 2nd year and produce an average of 86,000 eggs; spawning occurs between June and October

Only non-pandalid landed community for human consumption

Stock assessment status

No formal assessment; FGC §2001 formal report recommended a formal survey in order to determine sustainability of fishery


None known; prey species of groundfish, and ling cod

Protected/declared species interactions


Gear types

Trawls, traps

Gear specifications

Single trawl

Vessel lengths range from 28 to 76 feet, with average of 45 feet

Minimum mesh sizes

Associated conservation concerns

Trawling alters soft-bottom habitat; bycatch of groundfish species

Management, commercial


California Fish and Game Commission



Code sections

14 CCR §§120-120.4, 180, 180.2, 180.5, 189(a); FGC §2001, 8405

Restricted access

A control date of January 1, 1999, is established for the purpose of developing a restricted access spot, ridgeback, and golden prawn trawl fishery. Only those vessels which have made at least one spot, ridgeback, or golden prawn landing with trawl gear before this date may be considered for inclusion in the restricted access trawl fishery



Average landings weight was 521,000 lbs for 1997-2006

2006 commercial landings weight was 198,000 lbs for a value of $385,616

(see graphs below)

Current seasons, size limits, other restrictions

Season Closure: June 1 – Sept. 30

Prohibition of trawling within state waters – 3 miles from the mainland shore and islands

Minimum fishing depth of 25 fathoms

Operator of a vessel must use trawl nets to take ridgeback prawns in open waters

Unlawful to possess in excess of 1,000 pounds incidentally taken fish of any species per day during open season

Any amount of sea cucumbers may be landed with ridgeback prawns as long as vessel owner/operator possesses a sea cucumber permit

Incidental take of 50 lbs. of ridgeback prawns – or 15% by weight – is allowed during closed season

Logbook requirement

Fishery closures/ MPAs

No commercial take in state marine reserves or parks

No trawling shall be conducted in the cowcod closure areas defined in Title 14, CCR §150.06

No trawling shall not be conducted within District 19A

Proposed regulations

Population estimates in order to assess whether the resource is robust and able to support a continuing fishery

Recreational component

Small rec fishery in S Cal





Social context

Participation statewide

47 Golden and Ridgeback prawn permits issued in 2007

Participation by area

Range from Monterey Bay to Cedros Island, Baja Cal; concentrated in the Ventura-Santa Barbara Channel area, Santa Monica bay, and off Oceanside

Fishing and trade organizations


Seafood industry context

Product forms

Primarily sold as fresh whole prawns; do not freeze well; also landed live to supply a secondary live prawn market and to prevent discoloration from a black pigment that occurs post-death

Seafood selector status


MSC certification status


Potential for value added




DFG Marine Region 2001.  California’s Living Marine Resources: A Status Report.  Ridgeback prawn

Ridgeback Prawn 10-year Summary, Value Ridgeback Prawn Ten-Year Summary, Landings

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