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

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

Nelson hospice starts Walk and Talk group in Lakeside Park

The Walk and Talk Grief Group is offered free to anyone grieving the death of a loved one

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read