Prawn, Northern prawns, Northern shrimp

Pandalus borealis

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Demersal otter trawl
Capture area — North West Atlantic (FAO 21)
Stock area — Disko Bay and West Greenland
Stock detail — NAFO sub-areas 1A-F and 0B
Certification — Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Picture of Prawn, Northern prawns, Northern shrimp

Sustainability rating two info

Sustainability overview

Fishery certified by MSC as a responsibly managed fishery. Measures in place to reduce bycatch, increase selectivity and reduce impact of fishing gear on seabed.


Pandalus borealis, the northern prawn, or cold-water prawn (also known as deepwater shrimp in North America), are crustaceans belonging to the family Pandalidae. The species has a wide distribution throughout the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans (the Pacific form is generally regarded as a subspecies, Pandalus borealiseous). The species occurs as far south as the North Sea, Massachusetts, Oregon and Japan. Northern shrimp are hermaphroditic. They develop initially as males, then become female after around 3 years, and complete their lives as females. Life span is around 5 years, although possibly up to 8 years in northern latitudes. They spawn in autumn and females carry the eggs until April/May, when they hatch and the pelagic larvae are released. Total adult length is about 15cm. This species inhabits areas of soft, muddy sediment with a depth range from 20-800 m. Prawns migrate vertically at night to feed on zooplankton. Northern prawn are heavily predated on by fish and marine mammals.

Stock information

Stock Area

Disko Bay and West Greenland

Stock information

Biomass is monitored scientifically by Greenlandic Nature Institute part of Nuuk University. Their recommendation is made to Greenland fishery department, Naalakkersuisut, every year. There are indications that prawn biomass availability and area is reduced. The advice from Greenlandic Institute of Natural resources is therefore a reduction of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 25 % staggered over the 2 year period 2012 & 2013. The fishery management plan signed by Naalakkersuisut says that TAC and catch have to follow advice.


Certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) as a sustainable and responsibly managed fishery in February 2013.

Capture Information

Mesh size for prawns is 40 mm. A Nordrnna grid is used for selection and minimizing bycatch. There is a ban on discard of shrimps and conveyer belts for discard. Observers are onboard off-shore boats around 50%. New legislation introduced in 2012 requires rolling rock hoppers and tockle chains, to reduce impact on the sea bed.