Blue tiger prawn, giant tiger prawn, jumbo tiger prawn, leader prawn, panda prawn, tropical prawn (Black); common tiger prawn, green tiger prawn, northern tiger prawn (Brown); green tiger prawn, northern tiger prawn (Grooved); Japanese king prawn (Kuruma).
Tiger prawns are pale brown to bluely green with distinct grey, blue or black stripes; Black Tiger Prawns are the most common aquaculture Prawn in Australia. Brown and Grooved are available wild-caught, while Black and Kuruma are almost exclusively farmed, though Black and Brown are both found around the northern coast of Australia from Central NSW to Shark Bay, WA, and Grooved are found from Rockhampton to Augustine, WA. Tiger Prawns are both marine and estuarine, preferring sandy and muddy bottoms in coastal waters usually less than 30m deep, but found at up to 150m. Juveniles are found in estuaries among seagrass and mangroves. Black and Kuruma are farmed mostly between Cooktown and Brisbane, Queensland, with some in NSW and NT. Brown are mainly trawled off NT and Queensland, with some off NSW, and Grooved are trawled off NT and Queensland (as far South as Rockhampton), plus in the Timor Sea of WA.
Range of Shelf Life:
Leave Prawns in their shells until just before using and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18OC. Once thawed, prawns should not be refrozen again.
Farmed Black are available year round. Farmed Kuruma are available from February to September with peak supplies from March to May. Brown and Grooved are available year round, with peaks from February to May; NT and WA fisheries are closed December to March, and NT again in July.
Size and Weight:
Black are commonly 20-30g and 10-13cm body length, but, as one of the largest Prawns in Australian waters can reach 150g and 35cm. Others are commonly 35-50g and 11-20cm.
Look for brightly colored, firm, intact, lustrous shells, without any discoloration, particularly at joints, and a pleasant fresh sea smell. Prawns are highly perishable in their raw state and so are often frozen or boiled at sea as soon as they are caught. If cooking with Prawns, buy green (raw) Prawns, as cooked Prawns will toughen if reheated.