Spot prawns fishing is a multimillion-dollar industry in B.C. (Black Press Media file photo)

Spot prawn season is open in B.C., and this year it’s staying local

The usual export plan is off because of COVID-19, so fishermen are hoping to sell fresh, local

Vancouverites stood in long lines to buy ocean fresh spot prawns last week, but on Vancouver Island, fishermen aren’t holding their breath for a great season.

Last spring, the harvest landed an estimated $48.8 million — within the top five most valuable fisheries in B.C. — but this year export markets just aren’t biting.

“A good portion is exported to Japan, and they aren’t buying this year because they still have inventory from last year. And then there’s COVID-19, so restaurants all over the world are not open,” said seafood buyer Arlo Kueber, part-owner of Scarlet Point Seafoods in Port Hardy.

The entire provincial coast is home to the tasty prawns, but they favour deep inlets such as the Quatsino Sound in northwest Vancouver Island, and the Broughton Archipelago between Vancouver Island and the coastal mainland.

The season was delayed at the request of the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association in the hope that given time, the local markets would reopen. Fresh local sales may be the lead revenue generator for fishermen this year. Commercial prawn fishing opened June 4, when normally it would start in May.

Many fishermen are doing private sales this year, to compensate for a slow export market, Kueber said. Scarlet Point expects to be selling fresh ocean prawns for $20 a tub by next week, once the boats return.

All prawns start out as male, and become female by the end of their life cycle. Laurie Convey is in charge of prawn fisheries management for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and her job is to make sure the prawn harvest is sustainable.

In this regard, “the males don’t count,” she said. When Fisheries and Oceans observers board boats to take samples of the catch, they’re counting females. They have to make sure there are enough mature females left at the end of the commercial season to repopulate.

Finally, when it’s time to eat, Convey loves them boiled — just until they float — and doused in wasabi mayo.

fishing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Greater Victoria housing market sees positive bump in June

Sales up by 76.8 per cent compared to May

Owners say loss of parking pushes businesses to the brink

New Penny Farthing patio ‘will be like New Orleans, or Las Vegas’

Saanich plugs into $100,000 government grant for 20 new EV chargers

Six chargers to be installed at four municipal parks

Saanich woman says sexual assault was dismissed by police because of her ‘body language’

Patrol officers investigate sexual assault files, make decisions on what goes to Crown counsel

‘Tarantula moth’ spotted in broad daylight in Victoria

Polyphemus moths are one of the largest insects in B.C.

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

Playing his tune

Musician Daniel Morel breaks out a tune with his harmonica in front… Continue reading

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read