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

Just Posted

AdvantageHOPE is working with Boston Pizza to find a franchisee for a Hope location. (Facebook/AdvantageHOPE photo)
Boston Pizza eyeing Hope for new location

With over 395 locations Canada-wide, company is looking to expand to Hope

Left to right: Sardis Kiwanis Club President Bruce Oakley with nominator Peter Somers, Sovereign’s Medal recipient Brian Cleaver, nominator Derek Fryer and nominator Peter Brown. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack’s Brian Cleaver wins Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers

Cleaver is a long-time member of the Sardis Kiwanis Club and a strong advocate for Special Olympics

New Chilliwack restaurant moving into supposedly haunted Nowell Street location

Many restaurants have come and gone, Twisted Thistle the most recent, at Nowell and Princess Ave

Hope’s first chainsaw carving of John Rambo is removed from in front of district hall, to save the carving from winter weather. (Rambo ‘First Blood’ Tourism/Facebook photo)
Hope’s Rambo carving tucked away for the winter

Not to worry, the $10,000 statue has not been carted away by thieves

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Stock photo
Pair’s lawsuit dismissed against Fraser Valley soccer association and churches

Judge in Abbotsford calls claims against 14 defendants ‘an abuse of the court’s process’

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Sex offender who viewed underage girls as slaves has prohibitions cut from 20 to 10 years

Appeal court reviewed the case of Kyler Bryan David Williams, 29

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

The B.C. Teacher Regulation Branch has issued a decision about the actions of an elementary school teacher in Langley. (Langley Advance Times files)
Langley elementary teacher suspended for grabbing, shoving, yelling at kids

Roxann Rojas will lose her legal authority to teach for two weeks from Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, 2020

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read