Steveston's delayed spot prawn sales open Friday

The long-awaited opening of the B.C. spot prawn season comes Thursday, with the first hauls expected to be on sale on Steveston docks on Friday.

A delayed opening this year for the local spot prawn season due to the pandemic could mean some pent-up demand for the Steveston summer staple.

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At least that’s what local fisherman Justin Taylor will be hoping when he and his team head out to sea Thursday to set their traps for the anticipated noon season opening.

And he’s expecting the usual frenzy at the Fisherman’s Wharf dock on Friday, which has become a bit of a local tradition.

“It’s usually crazy on the first weekend,” said Taylor, who runs Steveston Spot Prawns and Seafood, one of three spot prawn operations in the village.

“Everyone seems to want to get their prawns on the first weekend and post their pictures on social media.”

Taylor said the plan is for the dock sales to be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from Friday, June 5 and going as long as the season is allowed.

“We are allowed to set the traps on Thursday, with the first hauls going to market on Friday,” explained Taylor.

“I’m expecting about a 30-day season. Last year was more, It can get up to 40 (days). But I can see a short season this year.”

He explained how scientific testing, done by a Fisheries and Oceans Canada contractor, will determine how long the season stays open, depending on how many female spot prawns are out there to keep producing the eggs for subsequent seasons.

“We will grind away until the season closes, no matter what’s happening at market,” added Taylor.

His operation will have public cash sales at the dock – with his team all geared up with PPE - as well as deliveries. Customers can also pre-pay online, as of tonight, on their website at Stevestonspotprawns.com.

The prawns can be delivered or picked up at the dock.

Taylor said, as well as public sales at the dock, he has a buyer who sells the product to the local market and for exporting.

He told the Richmond News last month how he’s concerned about this year’s season, given all the restaurants still closed or operating at reduced capacity.

“This is going to be a survival year for me and my crew, for sure,” he said at the time.

“When you’re facing 40 to 50 per cent price reductions, you really don’t know after expenses if there’s going to be much money actually pocketed…There’s a real risk of not making any money.”

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