For decades the Chungs were known for selling freshly-caught wild salmon right off the Government Dock in Ladner. Now a family member is continuing that tradition with a different twist.
For the second straight year, Darin Chung will be selling spot prawns, starting on May 15, a day after the season officially opens on the B.C. coast. He will be there daily right until the end of the season which can last up to 40 days.
“Salmon has been very difficult for about the last 10 years. We just don’t get to fish that much anymore,” explained the Ladner fisherman. “The Fraser River gets opened once every four years if we are lucky. We have to go all the way up to Prince Rupert and all over the west coast to get wild salmon. Really, there is very little out there.”
The scarcity eventually led to Chung and his fishing partner changing course. They launched their own business BC Live Spot Prawns and Seafood, based right here in Ladner.
“Spot prawn fishing is very difficult and neither of us had the experience in doing spot prawns,” Chung added. “A couple of friends gave us tips and help along the way.”
Chung is taking care of the business side of the operations which included launching a website. He also brought the spot prawn sales to the Ladner dock and the response was better than he imagined.
“We figured it would be great to get some spot prawns into Ladner because before you would have to go to Steveston,” he explained. “We had huge line-ups with COVID safety and drew people from far away as Chilliwack and Hope. Ladner hasn’t had much of a chance to get any seafood and my vision is to build it up to what Steveston is. Just having the experience of getting the product right from the fishermen and right to your plate.”
Chung added the pandemic has presented its challenges including limited orders from restaurants that are dealing with far less capacity due to the current health restrictions. It has also prompted the business to offer home deliveries, especially for the elderly that are reluctant to stand in line-ups.
He is confident spot prawn fishing won’t go the same route of the salmon season in the years ahead.“Spot Prawns are much more stable because the way it’s managed,” said Chung. “Basically you are allowed to fish a maximum 300 traps. It’s an open derby style fishing where the (the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada) go around and do a spawner index. If things aren’t looking good certain areas they will shut it down.”