Spot Prawns: Local for Limited Time Only

May 06, 2019

Spot Prawns: Local for Limited Time Only


Want a reason to eat out this May?


BC spot prawn season coincides with our celebration of Eat Drink Local month. Available for only a limited window of 6 to 8 weeks starting in May, these tasty local prawns are a great reason to visit your favourite local restaurant this time of the year. These wild harvested, sustainably fished prawns are a unique part of our local seafood story.


If you’ve never heard of Spot Prawns, here are the basics:    

  • Spot Prawns are the largest commercially harvested shrimp in BC with females growing up to 23 cm long.
  • In the ocean, Spot Prawns are reddish brown in colour with white spots on their tail and horizontal bars on their legs.
  • They turn pink when cooked.
  • Popular spot prawn dishes range from gazpacho to ceviche and tacos to salads.
  • The main harvest comes from water 40 to 100 metres down in the waters between Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Burrard Inlet.
  • Approximately 2,450 metric tonnes are harvested annually in BC.

Last May, we were lucky enough to head out on spot prawn boat with Organic Ocean. The journey took us up to the top of Indian Arm and Port Moody arm very early in the morning. The fisherman pulled traps that had been set the day before – and reset them before sending them down to the ocean floor for the next day’s catch. The style of fishing is highly sustainable and results in a limited by-catch. The prawns are returned to the dock the same day – and sent to restaurants around the region for that day’s dinner!


Chef Welbert Choi is a local champion of the Spot Prawn. At restaurants Forage and Timber, he creates a seasonal feature that celebrates their sweet and delicate texture and versatility for cooking. He relishes Spot Prawns because they are so loaded with flavour: “I can use all the parts of the prawn in the kitchen. I enjoy making prawn oil or an xo sauce from the heads and shell. They’re versatile too, whether pan-searing, grilling, deep frying, they’re always delicious.” This year, he’s planning to include them in is award-winning BBQ duck chowder with spot prawns, crab and spot prawn toast.


BC Chefs’ Table Society and Organic Ocean are proud partners in the annual Spot Prawn Festival. This year’s event will be held Sunday May 19, 2019. Find out about tickets to the event to try a range of chef’s take on Spot Prawns here.


If you want to buy Spot Prawns and try Chef Choi’s recommendation for cooking, check out The Lobster Man on Granville Island.

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