Tiffin Project

Celebrating a Sustainable BC Delicacy

by Rick Green on May 2, 2012

BC Spot Prawns

The 6th Annual Spot Prawn Festival kicks off the BC spot prawn season with a Spot Prawn Boil on May 5 at False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Participants will receive a plate of fresh-off-the-boat prawns, accompanied by sides, sauces, and baked goods from Terra Breads. Beverages from Mogiana Coffee, R&B Brewing, and Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery will also be served. Chefs from the Chefs’ Table Society of British Columbia will be hosting cooking demonstrations, offering ideas for how to prepare spot prawns at home.

Wild BC spot prawns (Pandalus platyceros) are the largest of seven commercial shrimp species found on Canada’s west coast. The population is monitored to ensure a sustainable fishery. During the six- to eight-week harvest season, which usually starts in May, a restricted number of commercial vessels with a limited number of traps can harvest spot prawns. Baited traps are spread along the ocean floor at a depth of 40 to 100 metres to minimize impact on habitat and bycatch. Any females caught with eggs must be returned live to the ocean. When stocks have been harvested to a pre-determined level, the fishery is closed.

Until six years ago, all 2,450 metric tonnes of the annual wild BC spot prawn harvest was exported to Japan. Most are frozen at sea by fishermen, then packed and exported to Asia. When Chef Robert Clark learned of wild BC spot prawns on a fishing trip with Steve Johansen of Organic Ocean, they came up with the idea of a Spot Prawn Festival so that we could also enjoy them here. The festival has grown in popularity from 200 foodies in its first year to over 1,100 people last year.

BC Spot Prawn Sunomono

Wild BC spot prawns are prized for their sweet, delicate flavour and firm texture. When live, spot prawns are reddish brown. They turn bright pink when cooked, with defining white spots on their tail and white horizontal bars on the carapace. Starting Saturday, you can buy them daily, direct from the boat, from 1:00pm onwards at the False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf. How fresh are they? Steve Johansen fishes only 15 kilometres away from downtown Vancouver.

BC Spot Prawn Festivals:

May 5: False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf, Vancouver

May 12 & 13: Cowichan Bay Harbour, Cowichan Bay

June 2: The Cove Resort, West Kelowna

June 16: Westview Waterfront, Powell River

For further information:

~RG

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